Crimes against humanity

If three thousand kittens
drowned in a hurricane;
if some nut
shot up a pet store,
bullets pierced puppies,
tropical fish gasped in shards and puddles;
if, colorless,
behind bars,
butterflies suffocated in iron cages

there would be weeping
there would be anguish
there would be motherless rage

Change the labels,
say blonde, paraplegic, extra-terrestrial,
Protestant, instead.
The refugees of Jupiter,
a Methodist terrorist.
How does it feel now?

If you dreamed
hard enough
to cross purgatory
to hope for tomorrow
in heaven

To flee

The dread of shattered night
screams, blood, deadly fear,
chasing you running,
running, running
somewhere, nowhere, anywhere
far from here.

But the welcome mat is a trapdoor
and now, rising from a whisper,
poetry is protest
once again.

Stuart Stromin is a South African-American writer and filmmaker, living in Los Angeles. He was educated at Rhodes University, South Africa, the Alliance Francaise de Paris, and UCLA. His work has appeared in Sheila-na-gig online, River River, Alterating Current, The Chaffin Journal, The Garfield Lake Review, Blood Puddles, etc. Read other articles by Stuart.