We will rise

As-salamu alaykum, and also with you
We will rise

We will kneel to pray at the hospital bed,
the graveyard, the sajada… then
We will rise

This is us. In shame, shock, anger, denial, disbelief,
grief, reflection, reconstruction and acceptance
We will rise

With us we bring those who have passed beyond the
veil so we can weep; farewell, farewell, farewell
We will rise

People of all cultures – we will rise
People of all faiths – we will rise
We will stand together
We will make a stand


What comfort
do I have to give?
There is nothing here.
Fear acidic at the
back of my throat
skin crawls, crawls, crawls.
A predator is watching
I’m tainted by this,
skin dirty, dirty, dirty.
We are gathered here today
to grieve innocence.

You offer

You offer to go to the ends of the kitchen for me.
I ask you instead to “Come here”
And you do.
“It’s a strange and wonderful thing you know…
you asking what I need, me telling you,
and you giving it to me.” I say.
And you say against my skin
“We’re going to make
that normal.”

The File Pile

Some movement today
of that which has been still,
gathering guilt and dust.
The paper pile that moves but doesn’t get smaller.
new year rolls on, rolls over
March is late to start walking.
Hole punched piles evaporate
and file away to their place.