in Obituaries/Photo Challenge by


Someone planted the wind and harvested the whirlwind—

see the shovelful of dust trailing the spade-edge, the hour-

glass almost run on the grave-mound. Who sinned—

the man with the gun or the one who sold it as Death grinned

from the shadows—or was it the trail of hatred limned

from a prior us & them, biblical Cain & Abel—or

was it earlier still, Nature, tooth & claw, jaws opened

and shut—as today—on the marginal, the pacifist, the poor?





Poet’s Note

“This poem opens with a line from the Old Testament, from the book of Hosea. Hate crimes are often perpetrated in the name of religion, but it seems to me that the current of violence is older still. Is this biology? And yet, so many of us admire pacifists, those able to turn the other cheek, those able to walk in love. How do these tzadiks do it? Teach us so that we can be like them?”

Devon Balwit‘s most recent collection is titled A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press). Her individual poems can be found here as well as in Jet Fuel, The Worcester Review, The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Apt (long-form issue), Tule Review, Grist, Rattle, and Oxidant Engine among others.

Image courtesy of Getty, reproduced under Fair Use laws.


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