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When Distance is Not Enough

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

There were days we prayed side by side

Watched as our congregations lessened

Noted gaps left by those who died

Souls stolen in mere seconds

Recalled now only in past tense

By journalists with no moral sense

A ceasefire, in name alone

Safety, a privilege unknown

To those that chose to stay,

To those that could not flee

Their fate as those that could—

Distance does not set you free

Eyes fall on body counts in bold text

A citizen one day, a martyr the next

Glorified by the media for only days

Yet the memory of the fallen never stays

Commemorating massacres to no avail

The guilty know well to hide their trail

Under rubble withers their witness fighting mortality

But delay their salvation till the state of fatality

We turn to screens, searching for clarity

Untouched by shrapnel yet felt as pain may be

Accepting the unchanging course of all that should—

Distance does not set you free

Silence, though not the peaceful kind

Left our minds by anticipation confined

Searching for movement in the living

Any sign their eyes may be giving

Yet extinguished hope does not return

corruptio optimi pessima* we learn

Are we to blame? Our naive error

Believing space dissolves our terror

In voluntary exile strikes the epiphany

It was long till we understood—

Distance does not set you free

*The corruption of the best is the worst

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