Joan Mazza

No Words

are the words people write to express their shock
mixed with despair and horror. What can we say

when we’re without words of comfort to those
who grieve a child shot dead for no reason, a child

kidnapped, held by the government you hoped to trust
more than the one you ran from? Is this the meaning

of ineffable? Or is it unspeakable to discover
those in power are taking money, more power,

inciting violence? They step up to the mic
with the swagger of false confidence to tell us

one more lie. Or four. They have no words that speak
to us of truth. No words we can trust. I want

to say, Just shut up! But they would shut me
up behind bars, declare me a danger to myself

or others. I have no words. I will not set myself
on fire. I’m an empty vessel on the path to the void.

How quiet without sirens or the clang of metal latches,
without the sound of someone crying near.