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Pushcart Nominee, “One Hundred Thousand Names” by Marjory Wentworth

The following poem by Marjory Wentworth has been nominated by About Place Journal for the 2020 Pushcart Prize.

 

 

Whether it is morning
And sunlight is seeping through
Overlapping oak branches
Bursting with bright leaves

Or late in the day, after
Rain has fallen and the scent
Of spring splashes across
The washed sky, emptied of clouds

And opening, you have arrived
At this sanctuary
Where the locked church door is
Never closed to anyone.

Step into the circle
Of grace woven from many
Threads that bind us
Across time and place.

Let us mourn together
The thousands upon thousands
Who have perished, so many
Alone, so many afraid,

So far from the people
They loved most. Perhaps you,
Or someone you know: cousin,
Co-worker, neighbor, or friend.

One hundred thousand stories
Left to tell. One hundred thousand
Voices suddenly silent.
One hundred thousand names

Etched on the altars of our hearts.
Our grief is collective, tear
Stained and bright, blue
Like a wound or the wind

Wrapping itself around you.
As you step back into the world
Where the names of the lost
are tumbling through the sky.

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