I cannot stop thinking about the inevitability of bullets —
how they will leave us in pieces, in shadow, in splinters.
I cannot stop thinking about our bodies emptied upon impact
without blood or tissue or bone —
What will we leave behind?
Not our fears —
of snakes, or clowns, or quicksand.
Those are already gone, whispers of what we’ve lost;
a time when we were haunted by the irrational, rather than the inevitable.
I cannot stop thinking about how much I love you,
a love that is wedged between every word I utter
hanging in space, staying close, just in case
today is the day you are exploded.
I cannot stop urging you to take it all in, to hold it tight, to listen closely
as I point out every door, every exit, every bush
the better for hiding beneath.
I cannot. I cannot. I cannot.
I cannot hug you without my fingers feeling for where the holes will be —
fielding dreams of iron gates and wooden fences.
Building walls to protect us.
There is not enough brick to lay
no way to hide from you, the agony of this life.
I cannot teach you to walk or to read or to run
while also holding up a blindfold.
I cannot urge you to seek truth and then play
with the very facts of your existence.
There is too much sadness in this world, too much greed, too much fear;
monsoons of anger, leaving puddles where once there were bodies.
There are too many guns —
and I cannot stop thinking about the inevitability of bullets
How they have left us in pieces, in shadow, in splinters.
“Be kind!” I say. “Be grateful!” Because the marvelousness of our beating hearts is not a promise I can keep.
All that I can give you, as you do your very best to keep breathing,
is the eagerness of my outstretched hands,
the sweetness of spring
this prayer for restitution.
It is yours in the exhale.
It is ours.
but only until the bullets find us.