Verdicts

Summer in the desert, among remnants
of what used to be internment camps—

Most of the soil is level now. But read with me in novels
of how they slept in horse stalls, in the heat and damp.

And here are poems scratched on the walls of cells, secrets in
the bedrolls. At dusk, moths flutter toward the street lamps.

Along the interstate, dried bouquets tied to trees;
stuffed toys, letters, candles that were lit like lamps.

In the hallways where children huddled, a gunman opened fire.
Where are the patron saints with their haloes and spirit lamps?

And who were the six that sat like judges in robes? Their faces
are masked; but we want to know how their jaws were clamped.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Patronage.

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