by Peter Dudley
As slow as winter, fear seeped into our speech.
Its icy tendrils crept among our minds and
Insinuated themselves around our hearts.
Its fragments latched onto words and tumbled
Through our cabled veins on the blood
Of twenty-four seven news.
Politicians and pundits coiled and bit,
Rattling their tails and sabers.
Their forked tongues spit venomous words:
We wrapped ourselves in unfurled flags
Against fear’s relentless freeze.
In the false heat of patriotism,
We danced around crackling pages
Focused on the flames
Ashes that rose and collapsed
To smother us under
a silent, colorless blanket.
Buried deep, our collective soul
Smoldered and survived
Until the blue, white, and red embers
Of our better selves rekindled
Melted away our fear
To shine and sparkle once more.