During Nixon’s Watergate, lies turned professional
becoming “selective mistruths.”
Mistruth : linguistic blending of wrong and right.
Balanced. When added together the sum is zero. Neutral
hard to find
impossible to manufacture.
When his son was killed, I didn’t write immediately.
For several weeks
morality marked time
wouldn’t commit – couldn’t be forced.
It worked solitary hours on the mathematics of grief
determining shock and sorrow
subtracting personal resentment
resentment at his indifference to my abducted ambitions.
What Is the number …… when blank is the answer?
Eventually I wrote
his loss too devastating to remain unacknowledged.
The vicarious emotions came quickly
words to package them easily
everything written was true
except the bit about him being an example to his son.
That was eyes closed personal fiction
even with the retouching permitted by obituary
I could never quite escape the ill ease
of attaching my signature to a selective mistruth.