there are five…

five basketball players
on the court,
five fingers on each hand,
five senses to bless our
days with sensual delights, 

five interlocking rings—
proud olympians’ coveted symbol,
and five golden rings
adding verse to merry
holiday tune.

there are five sides
to a geometric figure,
five gleaming points
to artists’ star which lights
velvety sky.


they lie face down
soaked in blood still warm
as SWAT team storms
the door of a bank
in a sleepy town.



five women who
loved their work, were

pillars in their community,
devoted mothers, grandmothers, partners –




five at one time,
in one place,
without warning

without time to bid farewell.
taken — without cause 


except that hate is
strong and mocks the

song of peace on
earth. five. gone.
because one man


wished to fulfill
a dream to kill —
one man chose to
don protective armor

which no victim could access,


and command women
to do his bidding
one final time –
so he could maim
and destroy. 





© Julia Penner-Zook, 2019
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson via
Twitter: @J_Pennz
Instagram: @j_penner_zook



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