This poem is utterly infested with violence. Since the premise is the death of 20,000 people by the order of one man, the piece takes on cruelty of epic proportions. Even the literal act of harvesting sugarcane is infused with a kind of violence – "cut it down." This is followed by screaming, punching, lying down (which may well be dying), gnawing, and arrowheads – and this is just the very first part of the poem. The second bit gets even more explicitly violent, with Trujillo wondering, "Who can I kill today?" It's a bloody poem, but very subtle and haunting one.
The lyrical subtlety of "Parsley" actually serves to highlight the tremendous atrocity about which it speaks, without being overwrought.
The images of Haitians cutting down sugarcane with machetes add complex layers to the nature of violence in "Parsley."