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Monday, July 09, 2018


by Tricia Knoll

Statues of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus are shown in a cage of chain-link fencing on the lawn of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Indianapolis on July 3. The statues were placed there to protest the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. (Ebony Cox/The Indianapolis Star/AP via The Washington Post, July 3, 2018)

A signature is one wave in the ocean of sound
that may wash up on shore with a sigh.
Tired cursive words that feel like twigs
scratching recycled paper to beg for ending
the torture of whales with sonar blasts
during naval exercises. Exercises … those acts
of the puissant against those under the club
who are forced to dance. Without needing
words or even a name, a rector hauls
a nativity scene out of storage
and locks Joseph, Mary and her baby
behind chain link on a lawn in downtown.
Urgent, visible truth. Images of right whale dolphins
torn apart from blood in their ear canals
lined up on the beach. Isn’t that how
panic rises fast under pressure?
Trying to do something even if it feels
like rushing to scrawl your name in sand
before the next wave erases it.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who necessity drives to sign petitions. Her recent collection of poetry is How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House, 2018).