Purified by a long bath in water scented with lavender,
I perform old rituals, light every candle I own,
daven in veils, and say the rosary, chant and meditate
to cast out darkness, rage, desire for revenge.
Ishtar, Aphrodite, Thor— I call upon you. Venus,
Sekmet, Horus, bring kindness, restore gentle words.
Jesus, Moses, Mother Mary, let us welcome those
who suffer, offer food and housing to shunned women
with unplanned, unwanted babies. Let us educate them
in the skills of mothering the next generation, teach boys
peace-making, eye-gazing, empathy, how to plant
a garden, how to cook. Let us join again in dance
and song, teach music rather than how to operate
drones and guns. We must stop marching toward the cliff,
stop degrading our air and water, defiling habitats.
I pray to every god I don’t believe in to step up now
when we need help most. Our bridges and roads
are deteriorating, our land is eroding, the ocean
is full of plastic. Oh, gods of any color or country,
quell my fear of demagogues, bullies who foment hate,
the greedy elite who eat and eat and will not share.
Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Kestrel, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Buddhist Poetry Review, and The Nation. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art.