Christ, have mercy,
we expostulate once more; he says
You do not know how often I
long to gather you to my arms
as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wing;
but are you sure that it is mercy that you want?
Instead of tenderness, how many times
have you sought solace in metal and kevlar;
instead of safety, preferred a hard perimeter;
instead of common ground, built
walls, chasms, barricades, as though history
were not littered with the ruins of your fortresses,
their stones repurposed to remember the dead?
Have mercy upon us, we pray, laying down
arms full of floral, teddy-bear tributes.
Have mercy, we say, from a sniper’s shot away,
watching the cross like a hawk for signs of life.