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.