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Thursday, January 23, 2020


by Janet Leahy

And now it has come to pass—at a time when we most need him
Civility has died. We are not sure how we can go on without him.
He tried to quiet the storm of ridicule, the spitefulness of debate
that swirls around us. He could not abide the absence of truth
in the public square. The Civility family has known several recent losses,
a younger brother Justice, worked at the border, tried to stop the separation
of families. After two years Justice came home, exhausted by the inhumanity
he witnessed, the callous treatment of little children, who need a mother,
a father, to hold them close. Justice died one year ago. And his sister
Compassion, protested when the electric company turned off heat to
families in arrears of payment. Last January she fell into a winter
of discontent, illness took her vitality and her life. His only surviving
sibling is Charity, a poet. She chronicles lives lost at the border, lives lost
fleeing homelands not safe to return to. Lives lost seeking asylum
in the land of liberty, the land of plenty. We remember bodies washed
ashore on the banks of the Rio Grande—Oscar, his arms wrapped around
his 22-month-old daughter Valeria, he carried her under his shirt
as they were swept up by raging river currents. We cannot erase
that picture, of father and daughter, it is locked forever in our memory.
Charity will read this poem at the memorial for her brother . . . we are not
sure how we can go on without him.

Janet Leahy is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poetry and works with critique groups in the Milwaukee-Waukesha area.  Her poems have appeared in Bards Against Hunger, the 5th Anniversary Edition and the Wisconsin Edition,  in Soundings, Ariel Anthology, Bramble, The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and others. Online her work has can be found at TheNewVerse.News, Your Daily Poem, and Blue Heron.