Sanpaku Nation

by msleah

I have nothing to say any more
about guns:
except no one wants to be
at the wrong end of one-
the person on the opposite side
is profoundly sure

of his right to determine
whether you live or die.

How can anyone presume
to make that call, yet it
is heard in cities and rural areas
in suburban malls

and alone in houses
and cars: the sound of explosions
as life departs, leaving a puddle
and glass. We decry
the bloodshed on our shore

and give approval
for murder perpetrated
elsewhere by earnest soldiers
playing for our team, marching
in lockstep under flags.

How can we lament
our own deaths, and care
so little for the ones we create-
defend our leaders
by saying that is just
what leaders do: they kill
in front of us,
with our full approval.
We make sure to vote
for one or the other
lest we be considered
bad citizens.

Meanwhile an American boy
raised in New York City
buys an assault rifle
and blows a nightclub to bits.

Look at him now
with his eye whites visible
under dark pupils,
a machine run amok,
soul-less box
enraged by love:

love between boys,
love that must be killed.

I sit on the opposite end
of the country
while my own heart beats
in my chest: frail and twitching
like a bird's-
but I am the lucky one,
I can still breathe.

Light a candle,
promise to love more
and better, because
this broken clock

is always running:
time is a shell game,
and no weapon will save you.