Where it lies

Written after the explosions in Belgium this morning




If peace were the material to build our world

we’d have bicycles made of courage, dialogs made of clarity,

tables of inclusivity and roofs of hospitality.

We’d get farther more safely and more healthily,

we’d talk much less and more sincerely,

and we’d be home, finally, among and with each other.

Fear would be out on parole

from the prisons it built itself

because chains would not be needed on our lips or our locks.

And it would be lonely, too, in those streets,

and only find company among misery, yet again;

this it only knows.

But peace isn’t a material, is it,

represented in the periodic table,

periodically listed and frequently studied.

Its syntax is small, its semantics so wide

and its pragmatics potent

in every act of hearing.

It’s never luck and always an option,

it cannot destroy and only heals,

and it’s always, always at stake.

It was seriously compromised this morning

at the expense of mothers and brothers

with silent accomplices all around.

 But those who helped honored its name

and cradled it bravely when nothing was sure.

To those I salute in this.