the lottery…

all were to gather
according
to their tribe
some met
in
schools
some
in
villages
for
the elders
others
in
places of worship
or
places of their specific trade
but
all were to meet
for
the priests
who
lived apart
from
the people
had said
the lives
sacrificed
would bring
prosperity
but
if
no one
entered
the stoning pit
all
would perish
a few nonbelievers
questioned
why
more
poor and elderly
entered
the pit
but
most
merely gathered
and
awaited
to hear
the number of dead
since
saying the dead’s name
was taboo
and
would awaken
the god
sia
so
like a herd of cattle
the people
followed
the herdsman’s
pavlovian bell

 

the book of dying 3:2…

history of men death’s dark angels
wingless night creature messengers of evil
life’s slave traders gold for souls
believers in prayer fee for redemption

 

the book of dying 1:9…

workers’ prayers continued but no change
their loads grew as poverty did
as more died death smiled broadly
but some asked questions about life

 

the book of dying: 1:8…

while some starved others grew fat
demanding the weak carry their load
the indebted workers had no choice
so made gold they couldn’t hold

 

servitude…

the brown bag prophet
stopped me
and
asked
where’d
you go
to
high school
i
said
a small town
in
ohio
he laughed
so
i suppose
you never heard
of
martina arroyo
who
the opera singer
world-famous
got
her own
foundation
and
such
to help
others
in the arts
his look
turned serious
as
he said
some chains
are
invisible
the
hiding
of
information
that
provides
the soul
with
pride
is
a starvation
that
forms links
of
bondage
stronger
than
steel
he handed me
a black history calendar
and
walked away