"Balance" by Chicana Muralist Judy Baca (used by permission)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Against the Rage of Pacifists

If the clouds

could forget midnight

over Guernica

then the children

could forget the lightning of missiles

in the empty streets of Baghad

Ash would settle

like the dark wind of Hiroshima

over the ice of America's sleep

The wounded shadows

would no longer be forbidden

in the night of bared teeth

The body of Gandhi

would no longer burn

on its floating pyre

nor twist in a tangle of snakes

on the white sheets

of the virgin

If the gray clouds

were not filled with snarling dogs

you would no longer

turn your back to me

The district of slaves

would erupt in a canticle of stones

stones that clatter like rain

on the foreheads of the tanks

You would not shudder

when the sound of guns

is heard above the burning

corpses of police

If the red tip of your finger

were not shrill with curses

then death might be silent when it comes

it would slip and

like chalk across

the throat of the enemy

If the clouds could forget

if the sky would open its heart

then the blue crack

of lightning would explode

in the cool hush of the board room

The men would huddle

beneath the table

shivering before the unseen law of earth

If the red cloud of tears could fall

then the guardians would sleep again

in their ceremonial chambers

The children might sleep on the rooftops

And our hands

at last

might lift themselves


from the fallen snow

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