The Forms
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rating: +60+x

The Forms


Deep beneath a stolen nation,
trapped in timid hesitation
(and within the confines of my
office in the southern dorms),
long dwelt I upon damnation,
then enjoyed a brief flirtation
with the thought of derelicting
certain business I perform.

Hopeless seemed the tasks at hand:
first to read, then understand
the endless ream of paperwork
consigned to me to authorize.
Here a form to requisition
toxin and anaesthetician,
there a mustering order for
five D-class slobs to analyze.

Orders from the research sector
for an expert vivisector;
and from (hmm, the name was smudged)
for purchase of a hornet swarm.
Nay! Upon closer inspection,
I descried a foul connection:
insects, personnel and poison
and a cry for chloroform…

Sagging deep into the cushion
of my chair, and roughly pushing
back the pile of papers which had
fallen on me as a storm;
rubbing 'til my eyes were red
and plunging down the deep'ning dread
I spoke these words into the night:
"Grow up, Karen, sign the forms."

"Clear your head, and be professional
at this desk — it's no confessional!
You're a cog, a spinning wheel;
it's not your role to make a fuss.
Do you really think they're plugging
open wounds with bees, or drugging
convicts just for kicks as though
the ethics were superfluous?"

Splashed the ink, then on to Bremmel
Who required a high-speed dremel
and a surgeon — why a surgeon?
Reasoning felt incomplete.
Now a purchase order from
the MTFs, for bubble gum
and scalpels (for their medkits? Or…?)
"Dammit, Karen, sign the sheet."

Some of same were missing data,
and as their adjudicator
ought I not to mark them as
unfit to thus be passed along?
Ah, but the Administrator
had signed off, and he's no traitor.
Surely I could trust these worthies!
Surely they could do no wrong.

Then again… that vivisection…
There was cause to raise objection!
From an expert engineer,
such a suit defied the norm.
Dared I essay non-compliance
and accuse him of mad science?
Which of us would pay the price?
"Fuck it, Karen, sign the form."

Forty fan blades; sure, why not?
A compound that induces rot…
Had I cause to judge each brief?
My doctorate's a D.B.A.
Safety razors by the gross,
excitants at a lethal dose,
rabies virus multi-packs…
I wasn't qualified to weigh.

Should indeed these parties various
be engaged in deeds nefarious,
could I stand to stand aside
and face my own face at the dawn?
Did I owe a deeper debt
to humankind? Would I regret
a squandered chance to set things right?
"Sign it, Karen, and move on."

Blind to all coincidence,
incapable of insolence,
I did my bit in parcelling off
our dire doings underground.
Any evil in this batch
could wait for someone else to catch;
scrawled my name upon the lines
and uttered no dissenting sound.

Was it my imagination?
That unseemly jubilation
on the face of Bremmel when
I met him on the following morn?
Were those moans upon the air
a novelty, or always there?
More the point: why did I care?
Duty done: I'd signed the forms.


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