Welcome to the Ministry of Love by Temma Schaechter

a found poem by Temma Schaechter

begging to be shot —

what is cruel is not that

the guards continue to beat him but

that he cannot force

himself to lose consciousness.


nothing in the world


so bad as physical pain,

offered only to those who

commit good deeds,

offer their only grimy piece of bread

to the skull-faced man.


his body flung


across the cell,

amid a stream of

dark blood and saliva.


a faint whimper, a squeak,


his flesh darkening to a green;

he nurses his crushed hand,

his grey eyes flitting

from face to face —

Room 101.