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, writer and peace and social justice activist whose poems have appeared in numerous journals and zines such as Agave Magazine, Blue Heron Review, Cider Press Review, Dying Dahlia Review, Dissident Voice, The Ekphrastic Review and more. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has also published poetry reviews in Cleaver Magazine, Cider Press Review, Rhino Poetry, The Poetry Cafe and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Poetry is forthcoming in Luna Luna Magazine. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a short story collection, Blue Songs in an Open Key (Fomite Press, 2018). Her novel, Punk Disco Bohemian, and a collection of short stories, Angel in Paris & Other Stories, are due for release through NineStar Press in 2021. Read other articles by Arya F., or visit Arya F.'s website.