Poetry & Prose

Jeremiah 31:16 by Kenneth Weene

After Jeremiah 31:16

Thus saith Jehovah: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith Jehovah; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

Did they cry for their mothers?
Pray to a god? Ask for mercy?

Perhaps they died without a sound
not a whimper or tear.

Nobody talks about their actual deaths
about this slaughter of innocents.

We remember them for their could-have-beens­:
hopes, wishes, childhood dreams

delusions of a better place where children
are safe from madmen’s hands.

This one an athlete another a chef;
this one perhaps a dancer, poet, doctor, nurse

a writer of tales a lover of dogs.
Now bloodied and their faces blown away.

Did they wonder why their fathers did not come?
Did they shudder at the popping sounds?

Did their dying bodies jerk
about the classroom’s cold vinyl floor?

I wonder if they cried in pain.
Can we explain to them why
that madman came to school that day?

By Kenneth Weene

The Antique Jar by Kenneth Weene

I know not the substance you once held:

food or drink, poison, balm.

For the farmer or his wife,

whose work you did I can not tell.

The potter’s hands that gave you birth

have long ago returned to earth;

and you upon this antiques’ shelf

have wiled years and gathered dust.

I make you mine to hold the past.

I’ll give to you some humble task:

hold copper coins or paper clips

and feel you have purpose yet –

to fill your womb with any what

that I, your newest owner, wants