On Wednesday four boys lay dead
on the beach where they played
and there is no way to describe this beautifully that does anything but
hide it, because it is not beautiful.
It is not a beautiful thing, the oldest
was eleven and yesterday in the Home Depot
I watched an eight-year-old boy with his two-year-old brother
patiently carry the child from one green tractor to the next
his face serene
with concentration from lifting
this little boy
in his limited arms
and every time his brother pointed to the next one,
he would nod–
and there are no words to describe this more beautifully
than it already
When I’m home alone and I hear someone at the door,
for the same reason I won’t look over my shoulder when I walk alone.
When I look in the mirror I avert my eyes from the parts of myself I still
have not learned how to love.
I’ve told too many stories about bears
to the people who look at my arms before they look
at my face,
and how many nights have we spent curled together,
with you hiding your face and me feeling your shoulders jerk as your breath
catches as you try
you try to cry,
while you say useless
undeserving and I remind myself that I know nothing
about forgetting how to love this–
This, that carries me through the longest days and wears the arms
that hold you.
The word “anger”
is crossed out so hard in my dictionary that the pen
tore through the paper.
I am serene, but the children are dead,
the parents are dead,
the children are dead and home
is also synonymous with trap, home
is something we must build and never can come back to, but home
is not, cannot be
the place where I have to destroy something I’ve made just to get up off the couch
just to remind myself what I deserve
and put it aside put it aside put it aside
everything is more important than the way screams
turn to blood in your throat,
the way no
was never in the dictionary at all so yes,
when you ask me,
I am tired.
And I swear by this pounding heart,
these ribs are not a cage,
these hands are not clipped wings, this voice
is not a mistake; Yes.
I am tired,
and I will burn this world down.