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Friday, November 17, 2023


by Donald Sellitti

Nina Chanel Abney, “Hobson’s Choice” (2017), acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 84 1/4 x 120 3/16 x 1 15/16 inches (image via Hyperallergic)

Please choose which dead to mourn. Now,
with your sorrow and your anger still as
raw as the shoveled earth above them. Please choose.

The children in their shorts and Messi jerseys
dead beneath the mothers clothed head to toe
in garments turned to shrouds, or

the children lying bloody in their soccer shirts
shot point blank with mothers forced to watch.
Mourn either one, not both. Please choose.

Scream loudly in my ear until I hear
you. It will never make me feel your pain, but
I might finally come to understand. 

I will not judge you for the choice you make, 
but you have no other choice but choosing.
Please choose which dead you will avenge.
Please choose.

Donald Sellitti honed his writing skills as a scientist/educator at a Federal medical school in Bethesda, MD before turning to poetry following his retirement. Numerous publications in journals with titles such as Cancer Research and Oncology Letters have been followed by publications in journals with titles like The Alchemy Spoon, Better than Starbucks, and Rat’s Ass Review, which nominated him for a Pushcart Prize in 2022.