St. Ignatius defined suffering as desire

disordered. The city of Grand Rapids


fluoridated its water June 25,

1945, to avoid needless suffering—


and since observing the plaque at the monument

Steel Water I’ve been wondering what exactly,


is needful suffering? When I tell folks

about how I broke all my front teeth


during first grade recess people ask, yes but

were they permanent? Which I took to mean


my loss was a painless loss thanks to baby teeth’s

planned obsolescence. Though it hurt so bad


I quake in my sleep to this day from the pain.

A life of my own, with you there too. Side by side


La-Z-Boys, Christmas each week. Backyard with woods

and a creek. Ian Curtis says people in this world have no place


to go—Up, down, turn around. Ignatian spiritual practices

consist of identifying false consolation, hard consolation.


In 1988 I first observed love indistinguishable from explosive

effort. The trout jumping the ladder: hard consolation.


Swimming against grief, the fish leapt falling water.

Damming the river, enough hydroelectricity to reorder want.


Rainbow trout return home to spawn. Attachment tears us

apart again. The fish-ladder is functional artwork, a concrete


sculpture designed to allow spawning fish to circumvent

the 6th St Dam. A barrier only the strongest steelhead


were capable of leaping. At least, it wasn’t my young heart.

Say it’s the last time. The great body came first. Then tributaries.