Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,adding a deeper darkness to a night already devoidof stars. —Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love
The stars seem dimmer, further away tonight,
the TV finally turned off, the night
moving across the globe, lights going out
in a wave. I wait on my balcony. Tonight’s
forecast: meteor showers. The sky drains
of light. A dying star shoots across night’s
dark screen. Moments ago, a lighted stage,
applause for a man who claimed the night
for himself, promised to keep us safe,
pledged to return violence, multiply night
in the foreign places it hides, all darkness
walled out. But I saw it hiding in plain sight tonight.
Hate can’t drive out hate, Martin Luther King
said. Only love can do that. And tonight
I’m remembering something I read once,
that our blood comes from dying stars. Yes, night
is mingled with the starlight, but we can
be the starlight or we can be the night.
Today, another bombing in return
for last week’s bombing. Fear is like moonless night.
It obscures everything, makes us lose sight
of truth, conscience, rationale. Yes, the night
is upon us. It will get worse before
it gets better, my husband said last night
after the news: severe flooding, more lives
lost, and still the wildfires burn tonight.
I asked him When? The round moon looked down
the way I looked at our daughter tonight,
bent to kiss her forehead, switched off the lamp,
the glow-in-the-dark stars lighting her night,
and she called me my favorite name. Night, night,
Mommy, she said as I made a wish. Night, night.
Jackleen Holton Hookway’s poems have been published in the anthologies The Giant Book of Poetry, and Steve Kowit: This Unspeakably Marvelous Life, and have appeared or are forthcoming in American Literary Review, Bayou, North American Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, and Sanskrit. In 2014, her poem “Goldfish” won Bellingham Review’s 49th Parallel Poetry Award.