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Tuesday, August 06, 2019

BLEEDING OUT

by Lisa J. Rocklin




Let's just leave it down:
the flag—
half-staff.
Raise it high
on days when
no one dies
            like that. 

Declare a holiday. 

Thoughts 
make ineffective gauze.
Prayers 
absorb no blood.
Flags were not meant
to serve 
as tourniquets
or crucibles of
            patriotism.

Let's just kneel 
together
every time
our banner waves
for these days 
we share—
collecting grief like debt.
Let's mourn 
the self-destruction
            of a nation. 

Let there be rage for 
the addict we can't save
who shoots up 
skin that isn't his
triggered by . . . 
            it doesn't matter why.

As long as he's fed
as long as we're willing
to yield more dead
as long as we keep 
loading the chamber
let's just leave it down—
as a shroud—
star-spangled 
and red.


Lisa J. Rocklin is a writer, facilitator, community builder, and associate director of Women Writing for (a) Change, a nonprofit organization in Cincinnati, OH, that offers supportive writing circles to nurture and celebrate the individual voice.