Guarding George Wallace
One May day in nineteen seventy-two
Arthur Bremer shot Wallace five times,
a bullet lodging in his spine in
such a way he’d never walk again.
We know that Bremer was crazy, not
a martyr for good. Here is madness
where we crave reason, bald desire for
fame where we’d prefer conviction. My
father, twenty-five and gentle still,
stood with his straight back to the door of
Wallace’s hospital room, gun at
his hip and shoes polished to a high
shine. He would have laid down his life for
a man I’ve considered unworthy.
Who among us chooses who we care
for, who we love? For my part, I have
forgiven him nearly everything.