Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2020  Vol. 19 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Children (Part II)

When the men lead the children by their tiny hands
one by one into the abandoned malls, anointed box stores,
and office parks, when the children weighted by tears drag
after, when the sky bears down against the men as to contain
the shame they must have lost, when the girl in the pink jacket and
white sneakers pulls back and sits with her legs crossed onto
the asphalt in her own kind of protest, when the man pulls
her up by one arm without regard to her screams, when the woman
takes them and asks why they worry when she knows full well
that they are filled with worry and the cause of it, when the women
ask them to draw and tell them that the sun is shining
so why not draw that, when the sun leans westward as if to say
that even it is done with us, when the nightguards whisper to the children
that they are abandoned, when the nightguards whisper to these children
that they are unloved, when the nightguards separate them in cages
like kennels, when the nightguards police their fury with pills,
their dreams with guns, and their attempts at comfort with billy-sticks,
when the woman in the class says, let’s make a face, let’s make a mask,
let us make them colorful and makes the children to queue up
(we have seen this before) and demands their quiet
(we have seen this before) and to wear these rude masks outside
so that the citizens cannot see their faces or eyes
that could remind us of anything familiar as children—

Citizen. Citizen. What have we done? What have we done?  

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