may thy knife chip and shatter

(-after the Fremen combat curse)

i used to have a simple life 

spreading castings through the earth

i was a good gardener;

raked the sand into smooth waves

if you were high enough in

carryalls to appreciate it

but ever since the kanly 

pitting harkonnen against atreides

fremen against everyone

(of course i know, i hear just

every blasted thing that shudders

through their bones)

they’ve called me something different

the judge of the desert has opened 

the courts of assize, they say

oyez, oyez, oyez!

anyone having business

draw near and you shall be heard

for your machinations have come 

to his honour’s full attention

i didn’t want it to be this way —

broke off thousands of my teeth 

to give these raging aphids means

to solve disputes all on their own

post butlerian jihad

post machines that could 

do the thinking, killing, for them

you aren’t meant to carry a grudge forever:

de minimus non curat lex

— the tooth of the law doesn’t care

for your petty arguments 

will bite you soon as see you

as you fight the urge to freeze

or flee from something so enormous

your little hooks exhaust me

i am trying to teach you lessons here:

— the power of the dunes to change

with winds but still be dunes

—some things you have to 

bury deep to find your peace, endure

i am coming, i am coming 

to show you all my mercy

if you survive, you’ll never 

forget that kind of justice

natalie hanna is a queer, disabled, feminist, Middle Eastern, Ottawa-born lawyer. She runs battleaxe press, and has authored twelve chapbooks, including titles with above/ground press, Baseline Press, and collaboratively with Liam Burke, machine dreams, Collusion Books. She is working on her first full length poetry collection. Learn more:

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