Martha Collins

Lamentations
October 25, 2020 Collins Martha

LAMENTATIONS

 

 

One

 
America    more guns    more    than us
 
Bullets    bullets    bullets    bullets    more
 
Children in school    boy in park    no sorrow
 
Dead in her yard    his car    no sorrow like
 
Exit while being    Black    gone without

 

 
 

Two
 
February 2012
 
oughta be a law
against we gotta stand
 
up for justice how many
justices one for you and
 
even if a witness stand
your ground
 
~
 
stand stood should
he have stayed in his
 
what kind of case is that a brief
case of life what kind of ground
 
that can’t be walked on back
from a store with candy
 
~
 
something with un
in it something
 
to use to stand
against a person of
 
standing to un
a boy of

 
 
 

Three

 

August 2019

 

El Paso    at least 20    a manifesto    Hispanic

invasion      a mother shielding    now 22

her baby    the father    a 90-year-old

 

Dayton    at least 9    patrons inside

& outside a bar    now 10    including

the killer    had made a kill list

 

Midland Odessa    at least 5      shooting

while driving    the killer had failed

a background check    now 8

 

 

 
 
Four
 
 
driving home from the grocery store with his girlfriend
facing the cop with his hands up, stop don’t shoot
 
a woman who’d been a man, for being a woman
Blacks for being Black, Muslims . . . Jews . . .
 
a gang member shot by a gang member shot by a gang
a gang member raised in a high-crime neighborhood
 
suffered years of abuse, a restraining order
woke with a gun pressed to the back of her neck
 
on her first day of school, with her sister, by her father
by her 2-year-old, who found the gun in her purse
 
himself, with a rented gun at a target practice
himself, had lost his job, could not support
 
himself, herself, themselves for being somewhere
by someone, someone else, themselves, a gun
 
 

FIVE
 

Remember our people killed by guns

we have more guns than people

 
Remember our 100 people killed each day

the shot and injured

 
Remember our 1000 killed each year by police

a quarter Black

 
Remember our children and youth

a mother whose son

 
Remember she said they say remember us
 
 

Martha Collins’ tenth book of poetry, Because What Else Could I Do (Pittsburgh, 2019), won the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award. Other recent collections are Admit One: An American Scrapbook  (Pittsburgh, 2016) and the paired volumes Day Unto Day and Night Unto Night (Milkweed, 2014, 2018).