This gargantuan blood stain
that we call a nation
covers a landscape of long-ago love and sex,
generations working through sorrow and laughter.
By this rock someone once offered a prayer
for forgiveness for the hurt they’d given to another.
That prayer is still here, drowned in blood.
Some of us are trying to clean it off and let it fly
and add our own prayers for what we’ve done
and what’s been done in our name,
using words so browned and hardened
they can barely rise; but still, we try. It’s that, or die.