The Torturer

by Dean Blehert

The torturer feels he liberates himself
by liberating others: Dignity
is a leaden weight. Freedom is confusion,
a swarm of hornets – who would not
be free of freedom? Knowledge
is a cobwebbed attic stinking of bat shit.
Responsibility turns each second
into one more piece of baggage
to be borne by the next second.

Torture, says the torturer, is salvation,
a blue flame incinerating past and future
to powdery white ash, instantly dispersed
by sharp exhalations, leaving only now,
endless now, the eternity of overloaded neurons
exploding. Torture pauses to record a confession,
soft as a ghost’s sigh, truths told long ago
by such lies as selves once were, and then
tortured and torturer, having done
a dying world’s duty, return
to the blue blaze of truth.