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Twenty Children, Six Adults
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twenty children, six adults
what WERE their names?
I must remember!
Oh, God, I don’t want to remember!

twenty children, six adults
what shall we make
of their sacrifice?
to what strange metallic gods of ours
have they been given?

twenty children, six adults
the President says
they are in heaven now
I find myself seized
with the urge to scream

twenty children, six adults
please no more pleasant words of reassurance
to mask our sorrow and our shame
that beat as loudly as the telltale heart
under Edgar Allan Poe’s floorboards

twenty children, six adults
God hears the pious platitudes
of everyone who could have made a difference
and overcome with grief and rage
falls off the front porch of eternity
and drowns
in an ocean of tears



Dennis Rivers —  December 2012

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