Faith’s Fatal Turn

America cut me deeply, today.
Liberty’s light seen dimming away.
Pray and die while the bullet holes burn.
How to believe with perfect faith
When faith takes a fatal turn?
How to believe America’s great
When it’s its distrust we must learn?

This is not the pain one feels
When a wound is fresh and new.
This scrapes the bone with cold, deep steel,
A familiar tightening of the screw.

I am born to be cautious and anxious too.
I was raised to feel happy and blessed,
A first generation American Jew
From two stung by Hitler’s hornets’ nest.

Now is not the time to tell me I’m wrong,
To convince me my country is great.
I don’t really need to hear that old song
When there’s daily, uncontrolled hate.
I don’t really want to argue that long
While martyrs cry to G-d, “It’s too late!”

I cannot do it, not today,
Face disagreeable friends’ feigned dismay,
Face hypocrites fearing more from a Muslim afar
Than the armed Christian racist in the next car,
Than the blood libel bigot at the corner bar,
Than the disquieting fool they put in charge.

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