‘save me from the lion’s mouth; for thou hast heard me from the horns of unicorns’ Psalms 22:21

I found myself somewhere
at the edge of the known earth
in an age when there is nowhere left to hide
pursuing unicorns, my elusive alicorn cure
for you it was always a game
you never think I remember
but the blunt force trauma
entered my mind all twisted,
as a matter of survival

Your missive arrives
in that cryptographic mind
geography’s incomprehensibility
impossible to decipher
a one-time pad
on a sheet of nitrocellulose
it burns instantaneously
leaving small ash

We agreed ahead of time
for the 23rd of October
a truly random sequence of letters
trick of modular addition
only I got lost in the ciphertext
mistaking it for meaning
meta-language to transcend
what came before

A tortuous inculcation
using proximity and shame
more like a rearrangement
the homonym of my name
anagram, a twisted joke
more than one hundred thousand
(because the numbers
never lie) forming a:
cacophonic bestiary
axial defense
detested asset lure
hush, rue

A spiritual starving
that hollows me out from the inside
even after all this time
with all this great distance
it is a violence that wrenches free
dissociates, disembodies, a disease

A priori probability
is equivocated to
a posteriori where
the entropy of plaintext
equals the conditional entropy
of the plaintext given in the ciphertext C
you’ll begin to see
where I derailed the equation

All that I have is this legacy of ashes
an unbreakable code
shielding you from your crimes
infinite computing no adversary
for the tangled traumas
obscured in my mind

In a conventional symmetric
encryption algorithm
complex patterns of
substitutions and transpositions
these places dance
to orient me to the key
I see the risk

Data remanence is such
a continual problem
simplest overwrite technique
write the same data everywhere
(often just a pattern of zeros)
a way to be nothing
nullify feeling

Poetry is a cipher but
it isn’t known whether
there’s a cryptanalytic procedure
which can reverse these transmutations
mathematics may be my undoing
while I’m mourning what cannot be recovered
security continually assures me that this technique
is proven to provide the perfect secrecy

Linked to Mark Kerstetter’s excellent prompt on persona poems – join us http://dversepoets.com/2011/10/22/poetics-the-other

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