Order to Disperse

by Dennis Nurkse

Dennis Nurkse

Tonight my children are facing live ammunition.
One holds a rock, one brought a Bible, one hides a phone.
The fires of the provocateurs burn so brightly.
The police put duct tape over their badges.
The soldiers are hooded; they wear no insignia.
Last night they had rubber bullets, tonight hollow-point.
In the smoke you see the outlines of a bank, a cathedral,
absent as the profiles of Presidents on coins.
A voice advances, a voice retreats, someone aims.
Have you ever died in a dream? What happened then?
Tell me what happened! There is only one life.
How long will I hold mine like water in cupped hands?

A Country of Strangers: New and Selected Poems

Last updated December 21, 2022