Amazing Grace


Can we have a moment of silence, please

for all the children who grew up to be dead,


who became examples of our sad yet generous

feelings when we bow our heads before a glimpse


of memory, before the laws named with their names.

Let us turn back before the stain is set,


before the bicycle is laid down in the field.

This country makes a refrain of Never again,


when what we really mean is, I hope this helps.

Ryan, get ready for school.


Lisa, here is the place at the table your mother set,

your father never reaching for the iron. Matthew,


that’s only a shirt tied to the barbed wire,

flapping in hot wind. Emmett,


may summer vacation unfold around you

like a boy’s sweet, low whistle.



Originally published in Waccamaw.