It’s dark
What light there is
is blurry
You’re a child
holding an ice cream
Someone is explaining
the Cold War
Telling you about
nuclear bombs
You’re scared, terrified
to be precise
Awareness of death
That’s not new
Aware of death and scared
That’s new
An inauguration
of fear that ignites
in you an urgency
without object
In time
at a religious service
(though you’re not religious)
you’ll come to a part
in a prayer that says
Around us is life and death
decay and renewal
The flowing rhythm that all things obey

A part in a prayer that says
Our life is a dance to a song
we cannot hear

A part in a prayer that says
It’s melody courses through us
for a little while then seems to cease

A part in a prayer that says
Lord what are we
A part in a prayer that says
A breath, a passing shadow
A part in a prayer that says
Yet you have made us
little less than divine

You will feel something
Call it a connection
Peace, calm
The world is hopeless
You know that
but will feel hope
You will feel hope
and find a voice
You will find a voice
and rise
You will rise
and take action
But that is many
broken worlds away


Justin Marks’ books are, You’re Going to Miss Me When You’re Bored, (Barrelhouse Books, 2014) and A Million in Prizes (New Issues, 2009). He is a co-founder of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press, and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and their son and daughter. For more, go to


featured image via Johnathan Nightingale on Flickr.

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