STANDARD COURSE OF STUDY

Fall 2016 / Issue 100

Ross White

There is no history of accord,

only one of cruelty—

if the goat calms the stallion,

then debtors will clip the wires

or thrash the thick cypress fence

to steal the goat—

if the stallion loses by a leg,

the debtors will be jailed—

if the prisoners riot,

the guards will quell violence

with riot gas and side-handle batons—

 

Still, imagine how droll

the high school textbooks rewritten

to chronicle an affable people—

They shook hands and massaged each other’s shoulders,

they dressed in corduroy pantaloons

to serenade each other from balconies—

Imagine the cruelties we might have to imagine

to keep ourselves engaged—

snakebites, beds of nails,

mild electric shocks—