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poetry Response

Reflecting contemporary tensions that explode into violence, Virginia poet Mary Anna Dunn explores the failures of imagination to create resolution.

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By Mary Anna Dunn

Shove thick sharp needles into our veins.

We would like to bleed for you.

We would like to open our arms

to give of our very bodies into yours.

What else can we do for you?

The sidewalks cannot contain us

or our flowers.

Cannot contain our teddy bears

our candles, or our prayers.

Shall we tear down our buildings

and raise them up again for you?

Write your names on scraps of paper

pushed into the diamond spaces of hurricane fences:

        Corey       Parthahi          Rachel           Kyle

        Grace       Deonka          Javier             Chase

        Mohamed      Kimberly        Lola       Shane

        Jean Carlos       Dylan       Amber       Dawn

our fences cannot hold all your names.

We’ll create trusts for you.

Build monuments out of steel for you.

What else can we do for you?

We’ll shout each other down for you.

Ban all that we can for you.

Do anything but change for you.

                                      June 2016


Response first appeared in Tar River Poetry Review

Mary Anna Dunn’s poetry has appeared in Inkwell Magazine, Tar River Poetry, and New Millennium Writings. Her chapbook, Letters to Littles’ Mills, will be release by Finishing Line Press in February 2018.   Mary Anna is the director of The Enrichment Alliance of Virginia.  She lives with her family on the Moorman’s River in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. See also