Friday Poetry: "#PrayForParis"

I heard the news of the Paris attacks this morning. I don't know what to say, to be honest. I have close friends in Paris (who are shaken but safe, thank goodness).

I am so angry and sad and scared. My heart is breaking into a million pieces. And I think poetry is the only way I know how to put that into words right now.

If you are a visitor in Paris: the #PortOuverte hashtag is here for residents offering shelter. If you are a witness from the outside: you can offer your support through the #PrayForParis hashtag.

I'm praying that tonight finds all of you safe, and quiet, and warm, and in the arms of someone you love, wherever you are. I'm praying that you aren't afraid or grieving.

This poem is... inadequate, I know, but for now it is all I can do.



city, transparent. footsteps are the only birthmark. unwilling
warriors. casual casualties. city, lonely. another nickname
for fear. another nightlight moulded of darkness. city, scared.
just selfish enough to want forgiveness. city, whole.
look closely: all things, when tarnished, could pass for surrender.

city, bleeding. tears another kind of afterthought. thinking
about the time when we all lived next door to happiness.
carving the story out of the gravestone dark. city, hiding.
wishing calamity would stay chained in its brutal cave, howling
in the distance. knowing the links are already broken.
telling the story that starts with it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay
we’re okay.

because it has to. city, insomniac. awake until it sleeps. alive
until it’s not. call it divine cruelty: once upon a time the stars
discovered that heaven burns brighter than any kind of hell.
city, dust. city, ashes. city, almost there. city, never close
enough. another war story. another incarnation of mercy.

city, wounded. skyscraper bones learning the sound 
of breaking. never knew that light could taste so dark.
never knew that peace could be past tense. city, losing. city, lost
already. somewhere in a place we once named home, the sky
moulding itself into a shape we are still alive enough to call