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They were the worst until much worse came.
To get high they smoked girls fed fury for days.
Things repeat, but they are not the same.

Blood was bad, here comes boiling rain.
He sculpts his hair with the ribs of boys.
They were the worst until much worse came.

They butchered days, then this thief came,
gilding his excrement and lying about rain.
Thug. It repeats. It’s the ever in never again.

Now old vile fief tyrants look half-decent. Sane.
Let’s take a break. Rest here in stanza four.
They were the worst until these villains came.

Howl, howl, howl, said Lear to Cordelia, too late.
Growl greed down and his henchdogs of hate.
They were the worst, then the real worse came.
Things repeat, but they are not the same.



First appeared in American Poetry Review, vol. 47 no. 1

Jennifer Michael Hecht is an intellectual historian, poet, and commentator. She is the author of seven books including Doubt: A History (HarperOne), and Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against...