Collective Unrest

 

Thoughts & Prayers

January 23, 2019

Dear mother of solider number x,

I know you kissed your boy good night, his face soft and yielding,
woke up to a scraggly beard before you knew it, his age and yours
numbers charted against a wall, expected and unexpected in their
celerity, time a mirage —

I know you sent him off to school each day, his brown paper bag
crumpled, heaving an apple and his homemade sandwich, the
only way you could say I love you in a way he would let you,
skittering out of your hands, asserting his independence, I’m
almost grown, Mom

But not yet — you whispered prayers into the night, incantations
woven into air an evil eye to ward off the curses of existence,
you clasped your hands, held his when he let you, begged him
to look both ways before he crossed the street, to heed his curfew;
you were only trying to protect his small and fragile head, still
fresh and young,

precious cargo you ceded to the halls of education — he’ll be safe
there, you thought, until the news crept in and unmasked terrors
in its rooms, threats of bullying, and bullets, kids uncapping guns
into falling bodies, war of attrition, but that was so far off, surely
they couldn’t travel here?

I regret to inform you they can, and did; words do not do your
pain justice — we offer thoughts and prayers as if hollow words
can salve wounds that cut deeper than blood — you were worried
about so many things, tried so hard to keep this child safe, we
tried so hard to keep this child safe, but time caught up with us,
the country went rogue with hate and dumped their dead bodies
on school ground —

he wasn’t meant to be a solider though he died in a war waged for years
upon our youth, innocence ground down beneath the barrel of a gun,
our hallways run red in almost every corner now, and they keep saying
as God wills

but mean as guns will — meant to kill, they are weapons, not toys,
and now I wonder how can I say I am sorry for your loss in a way that
sounds more sincere, I can’t mouth the words anymore, my lips numb
from their repetition, and there is

blood on our hands — we mime Pontius Pilate, Lady Macbeth — out, out,
damned spot; we are the spot and no amount of leaded water can wash
that away, as Flint will tell you. How have we gotten here? I cannot bring
your son back, can only say,

I’m sorry,

which will never be enough, will never heal the scar that will mold your
heart’s disease — I cannot fix, no doctor can fix, and no medicine can
heal your pain, this unnecessary pain — I am only one person calling
my representatives,

shouting,

for shame, for shame!

I’m sorry

will never be enough, there is nothing left for you to ever be enough,
dear mother of child solider number x,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

 

 

Marilee Goad is a queer writer who attended the University of Chicago and has work published or forthcoming in Ghost City Review, Peculiars Magazine, OUT/CAST, Bone and Ink Press, and rose quartz journal. You can follow her on twitter @_gracilis and find her website at marileethepoet.tumblr.com.

Please follow and like us:
error
In category:
Newer Post

Mockingbird

#WalkUpNotOut invite that kid who sits alone to join your friends at the lunch table smile, say hi, break bread be kind. Kids can be for-real-mean nowadays I’m a teacher I know they’re good for all kinda shit-talkin and shenanigans…
Read
Older Post

Seventy-First & Everybody Else

for Harith Augustus My heart thuds the panic of a death sentence kicking it into view, policeman on my television flooding streets they call problems, their batons bludgeons cudgeling bloody people screaming for their lives, another neighbor toppled early to…
Read
Random Post

Three Poems

Phosphorescence Sisters One reached down to the other, both broken and twisted But this was before the waters came Atop a roof they shouted Over the storm Pulling one another to new heights, escaping Temporarily Never permanent But each time…
Read
Random Post

a theory of anatomies

The men found her and sat on her legs, winding her body backwards and forwards until all that was left was a wind up toy plucked out of a child’s jewelry box. Heavily pregnant, she walked. A shattered lady, white…
Read
Random Post

The Conjure of Sacrifice

Click the link below to read "The Conjure of Sacrifice" by Dianne Turgeon Richardson!  The Conjure of Sacrifice by Dianne Turgeon Richardson   Dianne Turgeon Richardson’s work has appeared in print and online in such places as Sundog Lit, Sinkhole,…
Read
Random Post

Approaching San Francisco

Like a handmade model to scale; even lines, finely painted details. There’s a spot on the Bay Bridge where the picturesque city looks not quite real: a postcard or seagull’s low-flying periphery. Any moment, a guy dressed like a giant…
Read