Let’s not talk about retribution

or what justice means,

it is an ill-defined word.

Let’s not talk about victims and the

horror of what they experienced.

Because, what in place of revenge

can fill the empty,

or be a measure of hope

when nothing is repairable

and all broken finality?


So we punish with cages

and the caged within punish each other.

We expect that violence and anger will

be a bouquet of fresh fear,

and adrenaline and iron in blood

it’s perfume lingering

along concrete walls

splattered in shapes like roses,

their petals bloomed (true prize winners)

and long orchids running down

into puddles, this blood seen as a gift.


We expect inhumanity repaid

with inhumanity. We joke and gloat

and wish for rape and

whatever else makes the guilty pay

and the innocent rejoice.

Even some hooked up to clear plastic

tubes, exotic cocktails sent coursing through

in bulging veins-this decided by a jury

of peers and judges robed.

The onlookers behind the glass try not

to vomit.


This humanitarian gift, this

Constitutionally protected anachronism,

should be swift; each gasping breath a

resounding qualifier of the greatness of

our system.

We find that satisfying.


Webster’s Dictionary states in bold

a definition:

Justice is assignment of merited rewards or punishments.

Revel in the sublime ecstasy of merited punishment

as we take one more step back

to the torches blazing in the past

where the lynching tree still grows

and the gallows pole still shows

the stained human rust

that goes with our trust

in justice.