An American Pastime.

To bury a child is an abomination.

To bury the second is unsavory, but familiar.

To bury the third is industry.

Child burial is a coarse proposition like the rope that lowers the flag

When god used to look, his head would lower too.

Can the father spare thoughts for the republic,

trapped in the eggshell and baroque vermilion of the funeral parlor?

A mother still feels the weight of life in her belly

as she sorts out an outfit for the now lifeless unfamiliar

and the priest decides last week’s sermon fits the bill, again.

And the chorus of retired women ask the bygone men where to go,

because there’s not enough room for the flowers at the foot of the altar,

and they assure themselves no one’s at fault that the modest shrine will just not do,

since they know it could use a contribution or two.

Alas, a makeshift procession of unity swells momentarily;

Petals and voices declaring that spare corner in their respective hearts.

A song of comfort and duty for the child, the one that talked the way you talk.

The one that runs a clumsy touch across your concrete, overworked face.

The one that made your bones sturdy for a brief time on this earth.

The ritual begets comfort, and in turn, rain boils in the heat of silence.

Even as the shovels tap the dirt, atop the soon to be unmarked,

those left behind know the nature of the wheel, and succumb to the spin.

Remorse hardly settles at reckless speeds, and they will even tell you there’s enough room in the casket for liability. Specialists in stasis, the ones truly fit for graves.

But the cowards sending in their stead, this tender offering to the dark.

This constant, God-given, crowd-pleasing, blood-lusting, well-oiled abomination.

-J. Alejandro

How to help victims of the Florida school shooting (CNN links)

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