Headaches And Headlines (A Sestina Poem)

Here you have it, another
Thorough-enough, nuanced-enough article
Considering the political resonances and nuances behind children’s cries
And the policies we must strategically enact, once we are not so helpless
But at least this is some attempt at dissent, to soothe the ache of shame
Just for now

But they are still stuck, there and now
Even when I close one tab and open another
Is there a law of conservation of shame?
And can any of it be transferred to the safe confines of a Newsweek article?
The more you know,” they say; yet my sparks of empathy make me no less helpless.
I look for language, searching for verses about how God hears their cries.

The headline cries
But for what now?
For babies lying helpless
Just one and yet another
They cannot each merit a whole article
Too much ink to spill on assuaged shame

What could I have done? I have “ascended,” come “home,” so why bear shame?
Because there are some things distance cannot muffle: those cries.
No one’s belly is fuller because of your article.
“Never again” is now.
Diverge into debates about comparisons, whether this is indeed the same, or completely another.
There is a difference between spineless and helpless.

The work is not all yours to complete,” but you can’t call in helpless.
So many Shabbat table “discourses” led up to this shame
One “devil’s advocate” and another
Labeling “naive” or “liberal” any Abrahamic moral cries
For you were strangers –” but you insist, that’s not for now
Close the books of the prophets for a Breitbart article.

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Tell me the nutritional content, the therapeutic value of an op-ed article
Compared to the effects of chemicals pumped into brown bodies, helpless
I am shaking now
The certification on the food I am too nauseous to eat triggers my shame
Do you remember when you learned that Mama also cries?
Are her tears more sacred, more legal than those of another?

The bus should be here by now
I scroll through a too-long article

They still sit there, meanwhile, one desperate day into another
And I am busy lamenting the way I feel helpless

Have we no shame
Or only timid cries