How to Award Fit Punishments

Jeremy Schmidt

            after Michael Parenti

Having wrapped you in the mantle of official memory,
there was something inherently intriguing about the problems
of evidence aggregation—its inviting model, its swamp—
always playing footsie with the world. Not merely
as they follow but as they correspond. And on.
Refer to problems of unstated origin, attitudinal
combos and nasty information. Exemplary belief
in a more gratifying system, blissful hereafter,
higher survival rates, the full right to accept legacies
and majestic edifices imposing in ritual. All of which mattered
less than the commanding collaboration, the blooming certainty
that the annex or daughter library would fall.
And I, I will kill her children with death, you lilted.

The marsh. The basic puttering. The eyewitnesses
percolated in the minds to reveal the existence
of another cédule, a relentlessly menacing Juggernaut
of thirty-six historians (mostly boisterous couriers)
who earned the support you received from the instructions
you provided: blank, heavily refracted.
Yet judicious and restrained by a careful solicitude
for the preservation of incidentals and nuance.
Privishing the facts of the case, after all,
would be cloaked in excuses thought to redound
on the house itself. Rather, it is the infamous
bottom line we interplay upon.
Manfully are split asunder by. Reject out-of-hand.

Unprincipled and lethal effect (nothing sinister)
leaps the bold new imaginative. For under the tousled
haircut it’s still the same what-might-have-beens.
No more menacing actualities, no more
position tirelessly repeated, no less incredible
the cherries and milk, the tool-less observable evidence
of whether, if it is behind everything,
it has any boundaries at all. Any cutoffs
into which the mother might help the children
compose a magazine: a handwritten weekly of high moral rectitude
and the kill-or-be-killed breathtaking universal curse.
How would she find them? How does she know?
Especially when a more compelling and enduring nexus—
the celebrated H, your student of geometry
and musicology—was barbarously murdered
at the point of origin. Except for those who make it so.