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Monday, March 16, 2015


by J. D. Mackenzie

Moscow ralliers protesting the murder of Boris Nemtsov carry a banner reading "Heroes never die — these bullets are in each of us" | SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty March 1, 2015

The sting of each new murder
and the recoil of every new clue
points us back to the same source

We carry the burden of knowing how
these gruesome deaths inter-connect

We suffer the agony of wondering
when it all must end

Ballistic tests mean as much
as dust in ancient churches

We’ll march because we can
burn candles when the wind permits
and hope, because we can’t give in

The bullets are in each of us
sunk into those who remember better times
who cherish the power of free voices
and wistfully recall our rightful place
in the world

J. D. Mackenzie tried careers as a steelworker, sommelier and psychiatric aide before his current role as a college administrator.  A 2011 Pushcart nominee, his work has appeared in The New Verse News, The Ekphrasis Project, Four and Twenty, and Poets for Living Waters. He lives with his family in the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range.