Record Keeping by Karen Adler

And if you come to me all innocent and forlorn
all regretful and torn
between the rightery and the wrongery
gathered in your multitudes
in that field of Rumi’s
much trampled in the dust
made muddy by rain
quicksand in its terrain
and you beseech unto the Heavens
I didn’t know I didn’t knooooow.

Arms raised in supplication
begging for your life your way of life your lifestyle
we didn’t know we didn’t knoooooow
shower your mercy down upon us.

Knees made bloody
as you crawl over sharp granite and
drybones deadbones tinybones
of those you sacrificed
all the lives you stole
made small insignificant like we didn’t matter at all.

We didn’t know we didn’t knooooow.

Yes, you did, you liar you defrauder you defiler
you with no dignity no honour
I offer you no respect no mercy.

You knew
we told you
and here’s the evidence
mountains of evidence
the chain of evidence
decades of evidence
forests of trees turned to paper
all piled high in Rumi’s field
where rightery and wrongery finally prevail
where witches burn on pyres
maddened by fire
point scornful fingers
and whisper with harsh long-dead voices
you knew and you were silent.

you cry again
up into the heedless Heavens
she knows she knooooooows
as sand grains separate from water molecules
and slip sideways
as you sink more slowly
than immortal time itself
into quicksand
a death slower and more frightening
than waterboarding*
slow drowning
that you invented
to bring truth into the world
but no, not this truth
harsh and sharp and merciless.

Because you knew you knew.
We told you.
And here’s the evidence.


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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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