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New Poem – inspired by Rattle’s Poets Respond

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A stay of execution
felt like reclaiming
dandelion seeds from the wind,
brilliant and blinding starbursts of light
once the mask was removed,
once the ties were cut from bloody wrists,
once shaking hands were cupped
to capture the shimmering stream
of water spilled from a basin,
to cleanse the face of tears and grime,
to welcome the kisses
from his worried mother.

The National Guard planted roses
in the yard of every house
haunted by Michael’s innocent smile,
the city a beacon of blooming life,
a chain of joined hands
holding back the senseless shadows
cast from the violent fires of grief,
with one voice, one song, one wish,
that no one die in vain,
that tragedy never forces
the humanity out of humanity.

They continued to pay it forward,
to buy each other coffee
because it is more than caffein in a cup,
it’s a hope that kindness can spread
like cancer’s antithesis,
that the roots of one small joy
can fan out into a network of surprises
that take hold and grow
into a tree of limitless branches
no storm could ever break,
every person touched
remembering the simple pleasures
of a tire swing in the summer.

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