Scoundrel Time

“As yet but knock, breathe, shine”

–from Donne’s Holy Sonnets

in this time of terror that has yet to make the flesh
of the bourgeois bleed, though our souls tatter

in this time of the cruelty in our names against which we send
money and signatures through the electric ether

at this time of frantic effort to restate the obvious, to
say out loud the truth by waving signs at passing cars

in this time of huddling round screens to find laughter
at the unspeakable while worrying it dulls us

in this time of telling our friends what they already know and then
having them say it back at us

we pray like Donne, since we too haste to death
and death meets us as fast in the faces of the dispossessed

children caged too frightened to cry and hundreds
of them still never to be found

we beg the Spirit to bang on our doors, and not breathe
to smear the mark, not shine it back up like a heart untouched

not seek to mend; no, we pray to be battered, that
nails and claws and spikes break through, bleed us

as the world bleeds because that must be the first step:
to feel, so as to act

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