The Sins of Men Remained


Fifth Estate # 403, Spring 2019

The cessation of praying daily, of praying up against dry trees,

the cessation of asking and answering, pondering no more, no

more will, no take, not bound, instead only undone down to

laces; shoes upon dogs still for haste may remain yet to be made.

Not for gesticulation but emergence. Not for the writings but

the intent behind. Behold the cessation of fire and firings; braced

for the onset of ages created under metal, men, and distressed

moisture; ceasing, ceaseless and ungodly cruel.


Nothing genteel dispatched by the sun and moon, by the hells

of shame and the shakes of paradise. No tether holds power over

the litany of errors each soul commits while upon this rock

spinning. The most simplistic reckless desires of flesh and bone

and seed whims sprayed against sad walls, dry trees and bed

sheets, car seats and meat upon meat upon meat. Cessation:

this line never happens, this line ceases to be, never was, by

the powers of free will or thy will or William Butler Yeats.


Cessation of life, of fear, for mistakes that accrue as miniscule

immaculate probabilities: in the name of mercy and sunburn,

in the name of the compassion fraternity, blistered peanuts,

pregnant beasts, in name only, names of the lost, in the name

of mountains reduced by the breath of the wind ages ago.

Fabrication of femininity; where your composition is altered

girls while those lipsticks, bobby pins, and sanitary napkins

remain sound though you’ve yet spoon with impassive ground.


New girls pushed from one dark warm cradle and buried quickly

cold, rejected in another. For a few moments of beautiful life

lists were made: of sky colors and soil taste, forms, of cloth feel,

of light and darkness and a promise of globed fruit swooning on

vines close by. The list grew long in the swirl of planets and

condensed, crashed, redacted just as soon. And finally then these

bodies, eliminated, crossed off until unholy soil, a taupe simple

compact, and the sins of men remained.

Sean J. Mahoney lives in Santa Ana, Calif. with Dianne, her mother, three dogs, and two Uglydolls. He works in geophysics. Sean helped create the Disability Literature Consortium He coedited the MS benefit anthology, Something On Our Minds, and works as an assistant editor for

The author reads “The Sins of Man Remained” in a YouTube video at .