(New year poem, December 2012)

In your dreams, they are there,

threading beads on a string of years,

molding clay with small warm hands,

and you awaken to find them gone.

This is the part that pinches my heart

in a vice that must be empathy. The cruel

disappointments of grief, the indelibility,

while others look away and forget. Sandy Hook,

Yemen, Gaza. Someone always points

a finger—on Facebook, the news.

Machine guns, mental illness untreated,

schools underfunded

spirits   unfed while we’re encumbered and fat,

stress on families, videos, games teaching

violence, abortion used carelessly as birth

control, myths of redemptive violence,

militaries larger than countries.

Earth’s destruction. Self.

Pick one agenda. Run with it.

Why can’t we admit: all of these things make us sick?

The vivid constellation of our violence, crippling

imbalance, dominance we carve out and serve. Here,

let me make it clear: we can choose to do better.

We can choose to do better starting today.

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