Death is ready
for you

it would be impossible
to tell how many true close calls you’ve had

the drunk in the pickup that swerved behind you inches from your bumper
you glanced down to change the station and didn’t see
his truck slam into the culvert
and flip over three times

the lightning that hit the tree right there in the field a few feet away
scaring the shit out of you and your little sister
who peed herself and cried and you held her shaking body
while trying to find your parents in the sudden torrential rains

the last of the Christmas candy, the butterscotch
that you had saved to savor when all the family had gone home
lodged in your throat- breathing barely just barely long enough
that it dissolved enough to swallow gasping and leaving your throat raw for days

we have had these, and we are thankful we are still here

but this is America

In Darfur starvation and rape
In Iraq explosions at the market
In Brazil Death Squads in the slums

Death is everywhere- we don’t feel it like the rest of the world.
When a calamity hits us, the world grieves with us
Even though the world itself is usually in mourning

Imagine being a Jew
surviving Hitler
and war
unknown lands
and languages
and rising above it all
to become a distinguished professor
at a quiet college
to die being shot to death
holding a door closed
yelling at your students
to get to safety

the absolute best
and the absolute worst
of humanity separated
an inch of wood.

32 incredible lives lost
That a simple law would have prevented
We know these peoples lives
We cry with their family and friends

We need not to forget
The hundreds of other
Incredible lives lost daily
Just as brutally
For equally senseless reasons

We have only
Ourselves to blame.

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