Maybe you deserve a good beating. Maybe then you’ll fall in line and hold your tongue.

The new green
often brings
unexpected pains.
My dear mother – the jewels in her eyes
never matched the ice in her heart.

“Keep me alive,” she begged.
But all us kids could do
was play croquet
while the sun melted
the soft statues around us.

   We were made to witness a natural violence.
   We were made to act violent ourselves.

Our bodies hold us
in submission
like a prison.
We witness these deaths
at the hands
of armed civilians
and we grow
ashamed of our bodies
like Adam,
like Eve.

We will fight this fight.
We will fight this same fight.
We will kill all of these men
when this doesn’t stop.
We will kill all of these men
to save our sons,
to save our songs.

I remember the words of my mother,
in the hospital
just before
I was born:

“It’s not too late, is it?
Even if they stop shooting?
If they kill a man
maybe they will stop killing us, amen.”

When I think about my mother,
the new green, our bodies,
the melting sun,
I have a hard time believing
that she missed the danger
in those bent and broken men.
It was her own words,
in her own words,
that were her last words:

“They just don’t stop.”

Maybe you deserve a good beating. Maybe then you’ll fall in line and hold your tongue.