This poem has been floating around my head recently. It’s not perfect, but I thought I’d toss it out there anyway.
Untitled (September 2005)
The newspaper cries tears of ink,
in photos of empty shoes, broken railings
and broken levees. It speaks desperation
between quotation marks.
Tears seem precisely the wrong response.
Why add even a few drops to flooded streets
of New Orleans or to the running Tigris,
that holds centuries of tears beneath the willows.
My eyes, ostentatiously dry, read
here and there. I am overwhelmed
but helpless. I put my bills in collection
plates and raise my weak voice in a song
of solidarity. I remember another
song that seems to sing alongside us,
as we want to sing alongside others:
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
We follow the psalmist
all the way to his conclusion:
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
And I wonder if my quiet trust,
my casual reading, and our brief song
mean enough or anything.
But I don’t know how to mean more.