Proof Rating: PG

The setting for this poem is the scene in Inferno where Ben is in Jacen's secret torture room. I've been playing around with this idea for a while, but it's been misbehaving. Poems do that sometimes — slippery little critters.

You may find the phrasing odd, but it's my attempt to capture the rhythms of Ben's thinking as he struggles with both pain and his identity while in the embrace of pain. I don't use traditional rhyme as such, but I do use half-rhyme and repetition to hold the poem together, along with parallelism. And in this poem the verb "to be" is very important. So here goes.

I am Ben . . .

Nothing else matters
but this,
but being
human child
of human parents;
somebody ... someone,
although unity is slipping
away with the blood sluicing
down into pools at his feet, leaking
out in saline streams of sweat
and saliva. He thinks
he might be dissolving.
He thinks
the poisonous barbs
of the torture chair
are to blame.
He thinks ...
thinking might be proof
that he is

And proof matters,
proof that he is ...
who he says he is,
proof that this body belongs to Ben,
that the evidence is incontrovertible.
He knows that process only too well:
tick fingerprints, check blood type,
match tissue samples —
and he is confident there is
no lack of those here,
no fear of counterfeit.
The marks of Ben are clear
in this room; staining
the floor, glistening
on the chair of thorns
like splattered froth
in shades of mucous green.
He may be stretched
thin, he may be racked
until tendons scream,
but he is
through gritted teeth
Nothing in this room
can prove otherwise.

And the pain is merely proof
that he is still alive,
still breathing, still clinging
to the stubborn legacy
that can only belong to Ben,
human child of Mara, now dead,
of Luke, grieving.
Nothing in this room,
no-one in this room
can bleed him of that.

No, nothing matters here,
nothing at all; just one simple,
irrefutable truth that lies beyond
the language of pain, beyond
the shadow of doubt.
The facts would speak for him
if he let them, but he prefers
to speak for himself, smiling,
tenacious, unyielding,
three words
that mean

I am Ben.

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