Stand and Sing
by Karen Warinsky
The country mourns—perpetual now.
Flags wave in a half-heart-beat,
resolve unmasked at half-mast.
Winter has ended and Spring holds the ground.
I hold ground, too, feet firmly planted in a difficult life.
Not budging, I stand against the world’s oppression;
sign every lefty e-petition in the inbox,
donate my five, my ten to all
who promise to help gain back our lost freedoms,
heal the wounded,
comfort the hungry, the abused, the very confused.
It is a gape-mouthed world of need, sucking every scrap tossed its way,
accepting morsels and detritus, making no distinction.
Meanwhile profits from bake sales and raffles,
box-tops and labels collected by committed mothers,
act as hopeful expectation against a full budget of war.
But that loose change can’t approach the One Percent’s hoard of half the country’s wealth.
Won’t add up to a semester’s worth of tuition
even at a community college.
Cards stacked, we dare not move too quickly, or all collapses.
Frozen, we feel ourselves cowards,
the word not sitting well in our American ears.
We must stand and sing.
Sing out loud, as Pete sang.
Bell for bell, tone for tone,
sound against the night,
against the day,
heads back, jaws wide,
chests filled with air.
We must sing our message of defiance.