With One Breath


tousled head
beside the Evan Williams –
empty –
infected arm
recently punctured,
beneath facial grimace.

television blaring
of terror and bloodshed
of reasons for treason –
a season for attack,
vowed retaliation –
ten-fold retribution.

first doorbell, then cell phone,
screams from next door
unheeded, none
finds human response –
for hatred, revulsion,
retribution depicted
smothers without detection.

dusk, dawn,
midnight, noonday,
each sacred
hour blurred
with hideous image
of unimaginable horror –
grief claims another.

O, deafening accursedness,
clawing the innocence
from unsuspecting mortal
otherwise entangled in
living and loving,
laughing and grieving
in simple monotony.

arise. waken from
anguished stupor,
allow not suppressing
vile servitude to paralyze
will, spirit, hope,
wielding its saber of
dastardly cowardice,

for no pain numbed
torture replayed
hatred entrenched
vision dispelled
future postponed
courage quelled
can bear light.

as head lifts,
eyes focus
lips part
she becomes you, me,
all of us
collectively lifting bruised
souls from abyss

each one strengthening
a neighbor
one younger, one weaker,
including the senior, expanding
reach to those deemed lesser.
human spirit breathing
in unison with the Divine

in pursuit of peace –
sister of mercy,
mother of hopeful
grace, fearing neither
horror nor extinction nor
bloody tomb for our

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2015
photo credit: Stuart Dootson


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