Issue 153, Winter 1999
In Classical Attica it wasn't heinous,
tanned Danaan hands consigning cherubs
to the gods' protection, to die in earthen pots.
With incessant threat of overpopulation
this had to be brooked; the polis inured.
Those meandering the Taygetus trails,
that Spartan wasteland, could hear
the rapacious screams of weak sucklings,
unattended by the huntress nipples of Artemis.
It wasn't different for the heathen Roman, who,
prior to 374 A.D., could bask deficient Italian
bastards on rubbish piles, charnel bassinets
chosen by a five-neighbor convocation. Today's
ipso facto tragedy, our classical heritage,
denounced by anchormen, who invoke God's aegis
at the thought of moribund babies.
Must we be different, as pragmatic citizens,
who bespeak the utility of human life?
We are the metaphorical descendants
of Abraham, dispositional child-killers.
Must we punish the judgment of insolvent parents?