Are You Listening?

Those of us restricted
By the weight of responsibility
Beat our lotus words
Against the nape of god
Begging him to listen

What will it take
How many murders
Of how many children

Must the M-16s come marching
Through Your gates
Through church doors
And temples
Laying mothers
Innocents to waste along the way

But You have not heard them still
Blood at Your altars
Blood everywhere
And You have not said a single word

Can we pray then
For others to listen–
God help us –the president

Can You make them feel
What it is like
To lose someone
If not just anyone
Then themselves

Can You make them feel
What it is like
To bleed empty
Before they are ready
To go screaming
Into the hollow night
Not even knowing why

Can You make them
See blood on their hands
And weep blood tears
Can You make them understand
The greed at the bottom of it all
That kills?

There is surely a way
Dear god
Even if You do not listen
To make others listen
To stop the bullets
To stop the tears.

Arya F. Jenkins is a Colombian-American poet and writer whose poems have appeared in many journals and zines, most recently Hawaii Pacific Review, Jerry Jazz Musician, OyeDrum Magazine and Reverie Magazine. Poetry is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review and The Bookends Review. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has been widely anthologized. She is the author of four poetry chapbooks, a short story collection, Blue Songs in an Open Key (Fomite Press), and a novel, Punk Disco Bohemian (NineStar Press). Her latest poetry chapbook is Singing in the Dark (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). Read other articles by Arya F., or visit Arya F.'s website.