Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
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What is Evil?

For Scott H. Urban

by Jean Jones

What is it?
Is it a malignant cancer
that starts with the heart,
or some sort of epidemic that destroys
everything that it touches?
Or is it a forest fire that starts
as something small and if left unchecked
burns everything in its path?
Is all of that evil? Perhaps. Perhaps
it starts with the heart. Perhaps it starts with the self.
What one wants? What one touches?
What one desires. What one covets?
What would you do for the self? What would you do for pleasure?
What would you do for selfish pleasure?
For pleasure that rivaled nothing else
in this world?
Pleasures of the flesh? Pleasures of appetite?
Pleasures of joy? Release? Rapture?
What could achieve this joy, this release, this rapture?
Touch it. What would you do for it?
Sleep with who, hurt who, and destroy whomever?
Kill whomever?
Pleasure from pain? Pleasure from anyone else's pain?
Pain from suffering? Joy from suffering?
Joy from others suffering?
Suffer like you suffer? Like you suffered?
Pleasure from that pain?
Release? Ecstasy? Desire? Yes?
Was it worth it? Was the desire worth it? Yes?
We are driven creatures aren't we? Driven to do what?
To each other, to ourselves? Driven to do what?
Whatever. Whomever. Release. Again.

© 2014 Jean Jones

Jean Jones attended St. Andrews Presbyterian College and received his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He later went on to receive an M.F.A. degree in creative writing from Bowling Green State University.

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