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
This humanitarian gift, this
Constitutionally protected anachronism,
should be swift; each gasping breath a
resounding qualifier of the greatness of
We find that satisfying.
Webster’s Dictionary states in bold
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