After the sentencing of Dzokhar Tsarnaev

I do not blame the jury
or the decision not to change the venue
farther from the explosion’s blast.
I do not blame the brother
buried deep in angers;
I do not blame those who grieve,
those with prostheses
or bad dreams
or the inability to run fearless.
I do not blame the broken boy,
Dzokhar, child of God.

I do not blame the jury —

for mistaking release and revenge,
for all the resources
that now will be expended,
for a target painted
on someone else’s child,
for how hatred cancers
in a country’s soul,

for the way my own face
looks back at me
from the smooth water
of the pilate-bowl,

because I recognize
it’s my fingers
that break the surface and come up
dripping the anti-baptism
of guilt, of remorse.

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7 Responses to After the sentencing of Dzokhar Tsarnaev

  1. Emily Geoghegan says:

    So powerful, Maren. Thank you for beginning to put some words to this ongoing tragedy. Emily Geoghegan

  2. Maren says:

    There is so much that can be said!

  3. Thanks for beginning the journey of reflection on this sentencing. My sadness is less for Tsarnaev and more for the choice in us and in our culture that opted for revenge, and for an-eye-for-an-eye. Partly, I guess, in response to the spate of beheadings we’ve seen by those whose ideology is the same as the Tsarnaev brothers. Partly to make a statement, though to whom and about what I am not sure and don’t think the jury could have been sure. And I also believe that, in the small group the jury was, there must have been one or two fierce advocates for death, and those who might have leaned to life were not fierce in their commitment. Perhaps the prison in Terre Haute will be more humane (and I have recoiled from the details of the life-without-parole prison, which seems close to torture to me).Perhaps Tsarnaev will take McVeigh’s option. I think the jury will be marked by this forever. As will the victims. As will Tsarnaev, his parents, his little niece, his high school friends. Perhaps, Maren, you will write about this again!

  4. Timothy Harbert says:

    Thank you for helping to remove some of the sting that the knife of “Justice” put in my heart. The Concentration Camp Survivor who met with her newly discovered and convicted Nazi Guard so she could forgive him face to face and request his pardon gave me a little more hope for us too.

  5. Maren says:

    It’s amazing what people can do. And it is interesting that time heals some and makes others more deeply embittered. It is a hopeful story for us all.

  6. sugruerm says:

    We do feel for you people who have to live under a form of government that sanctions the right to bear arms, racial discrimination, torture, and the death sentence. Stay hopeful, keep mindful of Margaret Meade: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  7. Maren says:

    It is particularly sad that in a state that overwhelmingly opposes the death penalty and has removed it for all state offenses (like murder) a federal trial would insist that all jury members be “death penalty approved” before letting them serve!

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