The Victims of the Thirty

Open my mouth and pick my testimony out.
From between my shattered teeth, a dead tongue.
To quell dissent you must kill everybody.
The birds are seen for miles, circling
in silence, all voices stilled because we know,
now, what happened. On this raised mound,
flowers grow like weeds. They are weeds.
No one comes to cut them. Open my mouth
and pick the flower from my throat.
Dictators, I now believe you never thought
it would work, but that if you seeded the world
with violence, something would grow
you could call your own. When night comes,
the birds sink into the darkness. The earth
becomes a bowl for shallow breathing.
I have not drunk the forgetting waters.
I whisper in your ears like a dung beetle
trundling its treasured cargo to its nest.
Nature finds use for every waste.
Nature will find use for you after the people
have their way. Thirty pairs of eyes, of ears,
and yet every direction is filled
with blanks and silences. You might live
a long and happy life – I am no prophet,
and the dead are fenced in by time
just like the rest – but life is a tilled field
waiting to be sown. The soil is rich and dark,
but until you die, you will not know what grows.

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