Morton’s Fork

Morton’s Fork

The starving boy is offered,
instead of food, a chance
at legal death.

From a distance,
the choice seems as worlds-apart
as the tail ends of goodness
and ghost.

Only upon close inspection,
a brief misalignment that ends
with us in the body betrayed
by sustenance, did it shimmer
into the same dark blade—

for every hangman sworn to justice,
a trick coin showing, at every toss,
the same headless man,
all that flipping in the air
no more than a phantasm,
a terrible illusion of change.

The only difference here,
in the eviction of the soul
is the sophistication of the machine
and the deniability of hands.

“Of what use is living?”
the mechanic arm says,
clamped around the boy.

The guillotine, it is said,
shivers on its way to the neck.
Not this.

“Let me take the blood
off your hands,” the state whispers
as it wipes the boy’s trembling hands.

If the state has a soul, it is already damned
but that is not the point of this story.

The boy chokes into purgation.

The boy with dreams as big as two worlds
leaves them at the door of living, like dirty shoes,
and walks into oblivion,

The next day, the government
announces a new policy;
the people, gullible as sheep,
tear down houses
to build the statues of the rich.

What are you looking for?