Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

“Evil is ‘thought-defying,’ because thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated because there is nothing. That is its ‘banality.’”

—Hannah Arendt

“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?”

—T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Just fifty cents and eight dollars he paid
For every hour she helped him flush their flesh.
At age fifteen behold her high school job—
Alone with moans she plied, their sole handmaid.

He reused rubber gloves with others’ blood
He billed the late-terms thousands and then snipped
And severed spines of seven newly born,
And dripped in pools as she reduced their broods.

But swap hygienic hands and beds—no blame
Would haunt his name, for all the death he made.
If he had lessened fees and bettered pay,
He’d just be helping folks from whence he came.

If he’d been rid of severed fetus feet
Of cats with fleas and feces on the floor,
If he’d disposed of babies properly
Instead of in the felines’ cans of meat

Then Kermit Gosnell would not slay your sleep.
Grotesqueries so fertile turn and toss,
While clinical and sterile legal deeds
Hide bagged in biohazard unborn heaps.

Justice sets a ploughshare six feet deep
And reaps the souls whose swords fall on the least.

—Joshua Hren