How many more Sundays will the preacher
in black robes and the solemn shuffle of papers
Read the names of those whose light
was extinguished for our right to bear arms?
How many more Sundays will we try to believe
that our hopes for justice are worth more
than the lobbyists’ tailored suits and paychecks
and charming smiles aimed at senators-of-the-people?
How many more Sundays will we fight
the growing numbness as each name is enunciated
with familiarity, finality, we’ve been here too often,
just yesterday, today. Tomorrow, too?
How many more Sundays will broken hearts
be broken again, smashed to a pulp, thrown away
by our lamentation, by our grasping in the dark
by the growing graveyards of hopelessness?
How many more Sundays can we find ourselves here
shedding tears, again, holding hands, again, looking
to one another, again? This is our holy custom.
Through our tears, can we still wonder anew?
How many more hearts and hands and candles
kindled, paper lists, slow carefully hopeful hymns.
How many more? We must bear witness
if only to remind us of the world we live in.
How many more, we do not know. But Sunday
comes and lingers for a moment, this bright day
of remembrance, our job is to never forget,
How could we? And so, this Sunday, we hold vigil.
|Eliot Brian Chenowith