launch into empty sky,
wings outstretched to embrace
a new world, freed from life on the edge

hardly the promised land,
trading dust for dust
but promising, and yet

a dove drifts on thermals, sunlight
on white feathers, a star
so far from home, at home on the wind

reunited with wife after a year apart,
they celebrated life, the union of heaven and earth
in the chill before spring

nest warmed by hearts looking forward,
settled on a branch just budding green
amid unusual late winter snow

photograph's flash dances off snow
as two men pose and a woman in a scarf
snaps shots of joy

the bird joins snowflakes in a carefree dance
until a wanton stone launched by a child
sprays white feathers to earth, snow marked by blood

dust to dust, another widow cries
in the senseless war between children with guns
replayed seven thousand miles away

imprinted on his memory forever,
the child runs in fear of that shadow of joy
buried in white promise

first published in I am Not a Silent Poet
this poem was written in response to the shooting of an Iraqi immigrant in Dallas
the title of the poem comes from a quote by Dallas police Maj. Jeff Cotner