Devils In Our Midst

A Good Friday Reflection

She stretches out
on glorious sheets of lavender,
blissful in her bed of one thousand
pillows and three hundred

adamant and audacious,
having pedaled hard
sung loudly
run swiftly
danced daringly
shared secrets with
her best friend, Sam
furry, four-legged, faithful.

It is the season where
hope quivers inside innocent breast
robbing curious one of rest
because tiny birds are in every nest
keeping her dazzled, childish
spirits sailing to new heights,
life’s grand when temperatures soar
and thunderstorms roar
nothing can dampen her humor
as she grins at the ceiling above
rapturously dreaming
of adventures, wild animals
fortunes, fascination, felicity.

But wait. She’s often
pleaded with those one floor down
don’t talk so loud
I can’t sleep when you do

…..assault. woman shot dead. fighting.
no, no, no, make it stop
…..they won’t let them in –
…..those who fear for their lives.
…..gun violence. children dead. communities plundered.
I don’t want to hear it.
momma. daddy. make it stop

idyllic dreams snuffed out
dying, drowning, disenchanted,

It does not stop
they do not heed
words thunder on like metronomes,
tic-toc, without end, bruising
head, rending heart

…..hate groups. beaten and dragged.
…..people who pray differently kept out.
… melting. pipelines in sacred places.
hands fly to her ears – maybe
this will help it not be real

… still. the child will hear.
nothing can calm the voice below
sharp. shrill. shrieking.

That very night,
as bombs wheeze and bullets crack
while children shudder in the dark
wondering: who’s next?
while men lie and women float
in watery graves,
an imperiled child
finds her beloved
spring to be stripped of its blossom,
each tender blade of grass
twisted as if seared by fire
sullen. sunken. sullied

by devils in our midst –
horrors humans inflict on others, and on
this collective, diminishing home.
her fertile mind cannot grasp all
she hears, can people not love?
see others like themselves?
erase hatred and evil?

yet shadows count
sunsets as each
flowing meadow, once
brimming and shimmering is
cloaked in a seamless robe of the night –
starless, pointless, endless.

“…and … he breathed his last.”*

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2017

* Luke 23:46

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