Poem for mass shootings 

Copy and Paste Condolences

by Jay Sizemore


The residents of ______________ need our love,

in this time of unavoidable tragedy,

if only the sky would open itself

like a great swan unfurling its wings

to swaddle the grieving

and protect them from the rain,

the thunder and storm of their own

unburdened sobs.


We send our thoughts and prayers to them,

the buoys bobbing, lonesome and jettisoned

in the rough waves of this tiresome wake.

Let them be calmed by the notion

that loneliness is an illusion

in the absence of concern,

while our hearts carry their hearts

like hot air balloons gathering stones

in tethered baskets

until too heavy to float.


These stones are hardened eggs

warmed by the sun,

and this is a cycle of catch and release,

of nature and nurture,

of wound and suture and scar,

the abused given new life in the afterbirth of pain,

hatching from sorrow stronger than before

with haunted eyes remembering the wind

and how it carried them away

from everything hidden beneath the sea,

hot air balloons once again free to soar

and look for more lost souls to rescue.


Perhaps it’s too much to ask

that we forget what happened here

knowing what blood tomorrow holds

like a vein in a palm

that closes upon a fistful of glass,

the shattered remnants of a non-violent future,

the window we broke believing

it was the only way to breathe the air. 

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