More Poems

by Adam Sass

I.  Inventory

The river is freshly stocked,
Brimming with living silver.
Eager for the hook, these fish;
Cast your line and see how the water seethes.
They have the look of nature,
And the taste –
We bred them for it.

We have found a tiger for you.
He awaits your bullet
At the edge of the clearing
Just ahead. Or perhaps you would like him
Driven this way?
Our men are in place –
You need only give the word.

They say he has no remorse,
Killed without feeling.
It was like a game to him, they said.
Have you seen the pictures?
He has the eyes of a madman – of an animal.
The needle is too good for him –
I’d rather see him burned.

II.  Ledger

Tally the debts:
stack them on the desk,
call them on the phone,
chain them to a tree,
push them in a cart,
put them to bed,
paint their walls,
lock their doors,
fill their holes,
bow your head,
look at your hands,

III.  Inquest

Burnt the wood to charcoal,
Burnt the charcoal to ash.

Sunk a shaft to haul up ore,
Sold the ore to sink a shaft.

Channeled the flood,
Flushed the earth to the sea.

Snared the one that moved,
Gassed the one that couldn’t.

Built an ark with their bones,
Called it right, divine.

Left behind a narrow stratum of his history,
Black band in the cliff.

Don’t touch it, said the teacher,
It’s poison.