This was written in light of the war in Syria and Pope Francis's day of prayer for peace.
Gun smoke and dust from the debris envelope the streets
of what was once a beautiful city.
The marketplace where we use to run as kids
barren, the emptiest I've ever seen.
If I close my eyes long enough,
I can recall those moments of laughter.
I'm brought back to reality with the ensuing yelling and firing.
My eyes peer into the distance until an arm pulls me inside.
Light peers through the boarded windows,
illumining the darkness of our living room.
A faint whisper into my ear tells me to keep down.
Doing so, I feel the beat of my heart raging with fury.
Again my eyes open and there my family lay,
up against the tattered walls.
Screams come crashing throughout the house
and suddenly my lungs begin to tighten.
I struggle to breathe as if I'm treading for life
in a vast deep sea with nothing to hold onto.
Gravity from below contests to pull me down.
Stillness is our safety, a hard endeavor at this moment.
The warmth of my mother's arms wrap around me,
becoming a life vest pulling me back up.
I open my eyes again and her eyes meet mine,
her slender hair brushing up against my cheek.
“Our Father who art in Heaven...” she mutters
over and over, thinking that it would calm me.
No use, with the rush of blood coursing through my veins.
As I hold my rosary tighter I whisper to myself,
God, how can this be?
If your will be done, and here on Earth,
where is it now?
Amidst this chaos, I fail to hear your voice.
But as I tread in this vast sea,
there you are in the sky,
a radiant sun that never ceases to fade.
Your rays break through the smoke and dust,
in pursuit of the words my heart speaks in prayer.
Give us solace to open our eyes once more,
to believe that this madness will finally end.
“Pray harder so that He hears,” my mother says,
“that one day anger and hatred may hear as well.”