Philip Nikolayev

Of Evil and Suffering

When we ask,
why is there suffering,
why is there evil,
we typically mean
human suffering,
human evil. Sometimes we hear
this is so so we may have
our free will in our postlapsarian
human condition
and put to the test our goodness
under pain and hardship.
Our very forefathers
(or should I say pre-parents?)
have sent us down the line,
down the lines, this wisdom.
OK, very well, but how come
even a buzzy-wuzzy teeny fly,
the drosophila-melano-something,
can suffer from insomnia,
as studies have shown?
It, the fly, has no will, none,
and is free from sin, clean.
Why does it have to suffer?
Of course, I freely swat a fly,
which I suppose makes me
a hypocrite about flies
as well as a human fly-swatter,
not to mention puts the fly
at a certain disadvantage.
In a perfecter world,
would I not indeed be
much more self-consistent? –
but I do sympathize,
my gossamer-winged friend,
and moreover partly identify
with your situation. What are we but fine
free-willed flies in the honeypot of infinity,
answer me that. Yes, the honey is sweet,
but no, there is suffering
so there may be evil,
the world’s imperfection.
If Adam n Eve were the procreators of our
original sin,
then what was the Big Bang?

PHILIP NIKOLAYEV is a poet, and coeditor-in-chief of Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics.