Two hundred gathered in the park.
Small Midwest towns like ours
birthed crowds of strangers who shook hands,
wandered with signs and candles.
We were leaderless, except for ourselves.
A Ukrainian man made a speech
about immigrants. A small dark woman,
well-spoken and determined,
stood on a picnic table,
reminding us why we were here.
We walked together on sun-strewn paths,
the waning light dappling the ground,
snaked around the community center
and onto the road, where a few
honked their horns for our signs:
Hate has no place here. Black lives matter.
Kindness is everything.
We tried to think of what to sing.
Give peace a chance. This little light of mine.
Children in bright colors walked with their fathers.
Mothers wheeled strollers into the dusk.
As twilight descended, we returned
to where we’d begun. We made a circle,
holding hands, still not knowing exactly
what to do under a darkening sky.
Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in such diverse journals as Iota, Acumen, Gradiva, Shi Chao Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, nebulab, the Pedestal, and Passagers. Her seventh and most recent book of poems is Edges (Purple Flag Press 2016).