Eulogy for America

May 25, 2022

I awake in tangled sheets and look for it
on the news, behind sorrowful faces, in bursts
of crossfire rage on Facebook, infantile Twitter rants. 

Then I leave the house, search for it in the park,
the bagel shop, behind friendly nods in the aisle
at Publix, folks waving as I pedal past on the trail,

flickers of sunlight passing under live oaks, Spanish
moss swaying in the mournful breeze, but I see no sign
of it anywhere, just another day in the land of the free

because, well, we’re old hands at this, because we’ve been
through it before, because our children know all about it
under their soft unbroken skin, because nothing has changed

from last week’s massacre, last month’s bloodbath, all
the dreadful years before when horror lived among us—
not moronic zombie horror, not little boy paintball horror—

but horror down in the marrow, terrifying horror
that arrives when we must muster the courage to see
the long history of our inhumanity, when we remember

what it looks like, how it smells when it sears the soul,
how it forces the moral moment, makes us worthy
again and again of life on this divine earth, only to find

that it has disappeared right in front of our baleful eyes
                            May 25, 2022
the day horror is declared dead on arrival in America.

           —SL, Port Royal, SC, May 2022

Steve Lewis – “I have lived below Bonticou Crag in the Shawangunk Mountains of New Paltz, NY, since 1973. My wife Patti and I are married 53 years and have seven children and sixteen grandchildren.
Beyond all that, the geography and geology of my life, I am a former Mentor at SUNY-Empire State College, a current member of the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute faculty, and longtime freelancer with publications ranging from the notable to the beyond obscure … The New York Times, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, LA Times, Ploughshares, Narratively, Spirituality & Health, Road Apple Review, The Rosicrucian Digest, and a biblically long list of parenting publications. I am also Senior Editor/Literary Ombudsman for the podcast My book list includes Zen and the Art of Fatherhood, Fear and Loathing of Boca Raton, a chapbook of poems, If I Die Before You Wake, and four recent novels, Take This, a generational sequel, Loving Violet, A Hard Rain, all from Codhill Press, and a new novel, The Lights Around the Shore, published by Moonshine Cove in July 2021. A poetry collection, Fire in Paradise, co-authored with my daughter, Elizabeth Bayou-Funk, will be published in 2022.” 

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