From the Perspective of the Oracular Jury Member

Edward Sambrano III

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?


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