I envy you for whom all of this is new

I envy you who did not tremble at any unexpected call

at any unusual hour

announcing your cousin’s miscalculated overdose

or brother’s narc sweep imprisonment

a father’s sudden hospitalization

facing proven fears that they won’t be cared for


that skinny art guy with a marker beaten to death

the grandmother naked and afraid shot in her apartment

a boy playing alone killed in seconds

the kid walking home from the store, murdered

a fiancé, celebrating his impending nuptials,

bullet riddled with friends in his car

the father waiting for his son to come home from school

executed while he backed up, away

a wallet mistaken as a gun, as an immigrant

mistaken for some other, stood in the doorway of his own home

had his unfulfilled promise swiss cheesed by lead

the young woman playing video games with her nephew, slain

through her open window, the woman rescuer,

asleep at home, annihilated while she slept


all by domestic enforcers of our states of misbeing

those designated to maintain peace, secure order

destructive in their misguided executions of dubious duty

systemic thoughtlessness, misapprehensions

protected by uniform and badge and privilege

and endless assumptions of others’ guilt

without second thought or even breath


I envy you who don’t know this who never knew this

automatic cessation of futures,

this swift and peculiar severance

impetuous eradications pernicious annihilations


lives ended for minute infractions

imagined slights, no reason whatsoever,

sometimes, too often, arbitrary impulsive slaughter


to find this strange and shocking in its terribleness

I’m glad you find it inconceivably awful

I envy you for whom this is news

for whom this is new

and perhaps you will demand it change