Today’s prompt called for a poem of “praise.” This is where I went:
It’s hard, I know, to keep your muscles loose, your teeth unclenched. So hard to hear the news over and over and over – insert city and number of dead here. Stop it from painting layer after layer of rage on top of you. It’s a wonder we’re not all shellacked in place, fists up and mouths open, mid-anger shriek. How do you stay soft? How do you keep from popping your Ps on impossible words like prayer, peace, protection? How do you say you’re a pacifist and mean it? It used to be so easy. Remember raising two fingers, like you saw the long haired rock stars do on the covers of all your Mom and Dad’s records? The number two, you said, and your dad smiled, throwing two fingers back. There’s a plaque you still have in your living room: PEACE, LIKE CHARITY, BEGINS AT HOME. You’ve believed it for a long time. But lately you worry it ends there too. Praise be, to all those brave souls, who still turn on the TV, refresh the news feed, open the front door, wave to the neighbour— their bodies as supple as a yogi’s. Belief cushioning their red, red hearts.