In Memory

ef7f00c0b73dafc9ef29c5d977e3c1b6IN MEMORY

What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met ~David Levithan

The day dawns in perfect blue,
shocking canvas of contrast: planes
fly black against far-flung heaven.
Even unbelieving prayer
muttered with quiet breaths
cannot foretell or forestall stains

that gouge ground, splinter sky, stain
steel, scuttle lives, exhale blue.
All implodes in hydraulic breaths
screaming through city and plain:
common words, sacred prayers
lip-synched by animals heaven

sent from hell to create their heaven
marked by a golden crescent—stain
of a singular god and prayer.
Cloaked in polyester blue,
costume of the West, they board planes
inhaling, exhaling, one breath

comingling with all breaths,
lifting as one to make heaven
on earth, to be done, in the plane.
It is foretold, on pages stained
sepia, older than time, blue
ink and red seeping on prayer.

Father, mother, children—pray
ancient songs with soft breaths.
But God cannot hear in this blue
twilight. Sing who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name, thy love stained
by unseen portents. The plane

is a steel-bound casket, the plane
pulses with souls insistent, prey
trembling, flesh and smoke-stained,
metal-wrapped in dragon’s breath.
The meek, the blessed, to heaven
will float ashen to brilliant blue.

Blue sky trailed by white plane flumes
mark a heaven all pray exists;
God’s breath stained by metal and fire.


I wrote this sestina over a decade ago, and keep revising and tweaking, yet it remains a mere homage to this day I will never forget. We will never forget. Today, every day, do something positive in honor of all souls who have lost their lives to violence. Peace…

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