Violence accomplishes two things: nothing and something, both of which
tend to be lethal. Each outcome is a crap shoot. —Roshi Bob
From the Perspective of the Oracular Jury Member
Mostly, the testifying boy wants
To be left alone, not just by the barrel
Of the pistol opening on the bright world,
Repeatedly intruding on his thoughts,
But every uncontrollable influence
Outside the thin cracked glass
Of his apartment window.
He understands civilization
Simplifies itself with violence.
Categorize yourself, it asks —
Cop or robber, robber or robbed —
As you navigate sidewalks,
Glances thrown over your shoulder
Nervously toward a thin veneer
Of bitter knowledge. The inertia
Of wishful thinking produces
Consoling evidence. Inevitable,
This suffering. Here’s a sequence
Of the boy’s genes; there a thought
Of his father. So enters the memory
Of the ski-masked stranger.
How does the boy begin
To forgive himself?
Edward Sambrano III
from Waxwing Literary Journal