News Poetry: How to Love a Monster

Photo credit: Guido Heitkoetter, Creative Commons, Flickr

It’s all in my head, the morning news,
mourning cities and synagogues.
I sit here muttering until
my mouth goes dry,
fingers cramp around the pen.
Sorrow is below, behind, beside me
in my robe and slippers,
turtled, numb as a carapace.

Are we chosen, they damned?
We are all stones, stones
in a hurting world, worldcode name
for all that lives, blanket word
covering our fear, we berserkers,
going naked into battle
against a blood-red necktie,
fresh arterial red running down
the front of a Pure-White shirt.

But stand tall in the face
of clotted platitudes
“hearts and prayers”—
the latest lie. If you cannot
love a monster, wrestle
the dark angels,
feed the children,
bury the bullets.

Karen Douglass has taught writing at Front Range Community College and is a member of The Academy of American Poets and Columbine Poets of Colorado. Her most recent poetry is Two-Gun Lil (212). Visit Karen at


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