Jonestown

by Chris Haven

(This poem originally appeared in the Minnesota Review, Number 81, 2018, pp. 9-10. The pdf version of this poem – with its unique typography – is here.)

I kept wondering if it was an accident
if they didn’t know
what the
purple
held

I kept
wondering if the parents didn’t know
what the children
were drinking

I kept wondering
why their tongues didn’t stop
the poison

I
kept wondering
why the guy in the glasses
made up a god
that hated children

I kept wondering
about the rows
the neatly stacked
shirts and jeans
limbs and hair
sometimes children
beneath

I kept
wondering
how long they lay
awake how long
until they
trickled away

I
kept
wondering
who the mixers
who the servers
who the stirrers

I    kept  wondering
about  the  path
how  many  steps  how
long  the  lines  how
many  children  how  many
thought  they  were  waiting
for  something  good  at  the  end

Ikeptwonderinghowthebodies
arrangedthemselvesdid
thechildrenliedown
Firsttobecoveredor
didtheyslip
orweretheypulled
under

I if kept you wondering only if drank you half would the still cup die

I k e p t w o n d e r i n g w h a t t h e d u s t w o u l d h o l d

I kept
wondering if God
was watching
I kept wondering
was it accident
it was wondering
what was I
I was it
I kept it

Originally posted on September 22nd, 2021.

Last modified on October 19th, 2021.
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