I told my kids about you today
I didn’t want to, but you kind of made it
impossible not to
I wanted to tell them about the others
The ones who fell at your hands
the ones who are now gone
who even today are being buried
returned too soon to the dust from which they rose
The ones whose parents have nothing
left to tell them
I wanted to tell them their names
To read them one by one
But I did not

For they are so small
They are just boys, you know
I wanted to tell them that this is the way the world
that hatred and menace are as natural as kudzu
and as unstoppable
But I did not

I should accept that this is the order of things
But I do not

I should accept that people are relentless bastards
and that next year, and next year, and next year
we will repeat and repeat to ourselves that now this
was the worst slaughter in our history
I should accept that the world grows darker by daylight
that festivity is futile in a world of mourning
that joy is no longer for us
that love does in fact fail
and that people should stop talking about it
and talking
that I should put the ways of childhood behind me
But I do not

Instead I will try to tell them that hatred will
ever undo but never unmake
what has been given

I will try to pray for you
And maybe one day tell my children your name
Maybe one day I will have the courage
To love an enemy
But today
I do not

2 Replies to “AD NAUSEAM”

  1. Pete Candler, you are one fine and sensitive poet and, apparently, person.
    I am deeply touched reading this, thinking of my own five smallish grandchildren.
    Keep feeling deeply, and expressing your poetic soul for all our sakes.
    Your mother ( and my friend) can be very proud of your innate compassion and gift.
    With gratitude,
    Sally Edwards

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