Half-Mast

Why are the flags at Half-Mast again?
It was just last week, last month, last year,
yesterday,
they were lowered.
Was it Sutherland Springs,
New York, Las Vegas,
Orlando, Charleston,
Sandy Hook, Columbine,
The World Trade Center?

It is there often enough it’s hard to remember
when they were at full staff.

Do we insist on living a reality
that should never be permitted to be?
Where we run up and down the Wal-Mart aisles of
our Scripture and our Constitution,
finding infallible proofs to justify
our willful ignorance of human nature?
Using our evidence, we destroy both
reason and compassion
to make ourselves targets
for no purpose.

We walk the road to Jericho, passing
beaten and bleeding bodies
with priestly pride in keeping
our purity safe for service in
Temples of our selfishness.
“Love your enemies and pray for them,”
does not keep us for giving ourselves
license to let people suffer fates
we think they deserve.

We are the most generous people in the world,
we reach out across the globe to those in need,
but not next door, nor the next block over,
nor the bad part of town
too near and yet too far.

It is one thing to ask for young women and young men
to step forward and take up arms to
defend our honor overseas, at the cost of their
blood and sanity
without any real gratitude beyond words and discounts
when they return.

Yet all of us may be cut down
as if we deserve it
in any public place to protect
infallible rights which must not be challenged.
We fight the world without changing it.

The Blood of our heroes is not enough
when we can have no protection here.
Few are chosen to prosper
and we must die for this every day.

The flags are Half-Mast again,
will probably be there for some new slaughter tomorrow,
next week, next year.
And the Half-Mast flags teach us no lesson,
offer us no help, no grace, no solace,
no hope of a peaceful life
in a world living in a Half-Mast Purgatory
we have created for ourselves.

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