Sheree La Puma, Poems of Loss and Protest

The Ones That Walk Away
To Our Lost Children

Melissa mourns a daughter. Alexis, a dead son.

On the hills where kids lay buried, wildflowers

snipped then scattered, fade to brown. From

the ashes, a chorus of origami hearts unwrapping.

Grief is a house with little paper folds. I tear at

the walls with my fingertips, searching for seeds,

searching for a do over. Here in the grey, a marriage

hardening into ice & everyone not buried, walks

away. I love you; I say to my daughter. Her silence

swells then cracks. Our bodies a dream, stripped,

of hope. Child, tell me how to inhabit a shrinking

space? When there is nothing left, the future

exhales & dies in my arms.

I.II.MMXX Not Even The White House Knows The Body Count

Not even the White House knows the body count.

Out of the storm, dark aspirations grows. No longer

content with small snatches of light, a President

assassinates the New Year with a swoosh of giant

wings then is surprised when the world burns bright.

On the west lawn, without regret, mockingbirds clear

their throats, tweeting out lies. In their claws, a democracy

in shreds, ending any hope of lives rich in meaning. There

will be generations lost in this show of greed. As the

82nd airborne division, now in-flight heads to Middle East,

innocents gather, listening for the next pass. Is it too

late to retire from the contest? NY, LA, cities on alert.

In Miami, Trump stacks cards into a miniature skyscraper.

I’ve come to appreciate the brevity

of an evil heart.

About the contributor

Sheree La Puma is an award-winning writer whose personal essays, fiction and poetry have appeared in or are forthcoming in WSQ, Chiron Review, Juxtaprose, Louisiana Literature and others. She received an MFA in Writing from California Institute of the Arts and taught poetry to former gang members.

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