To Sugarcoat the Truth

by Jonathan Greenhause

“Is it easier to be good or bad?”
my son inquires
                           as the snow falls outside

& covers the chilled body in its bed
of autumn leaves. As a father, I’ve tried

not to sugarcoat the truth, even if
it speaks of genocide,
                                         of disasters

magnified by humans. So the snowdrift
is the perfect place to conceal my first

reply to his question. It’s better to
be good, but not easier.
                                         If we must

kill, we do. Faced with starvation, we chew
on what’s edible, regardless of what’s

lost. “For me, it’s easier to be good,”
I tender, still
                           uncertain where I stood.