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Monday, May 22, 2006


by Robert Emmett

during the war
buddhist monks
set themselves on fire
in the streets of saigon
in their silence
far away static crackles
in the shimmer
this infinite plane melts
did they shine
an offering
to rectify the carnage to come
not for them
but for us

what tethers us here
our great riches
and powers
squandered again
for the whole suffering world to see
the conflagration crowning
each atrocity imprints
the image of another shadow
on the ground

who are the quiet givers now
what reparations will suffice
with wires cut
dark circuits blown beyond understanding
how can we possibly atone
awash in white noise…
the resonance
of reconciliation

Robert Emmett practices wordcraft somewhere in the woods of Michigan. Printed above is the final section of a longer poem.