By Philip C. Kolin
An epidemic of bullets
on the Southside, children
being shot or shot at.
These sons and daughters of color
fade into stiff shadows,
laid out on cold porcelain slabs.
of a nation at war with itself.
Streets lit with red and blue
whirling lights; sirens keening
obituaries every hour.
Firefighters and cops
have become death's midwives,
delivering this generation of woes
on broken gurneys to the embalmers,
their only memorial a name
on a cross carried by parents,
in this Urban Dolorosa.
Chicago, city of childless mothers.
Christ weeps under the El
for all those women whose
breasts will never again nurse a child ,
for the birth canal has become
the gateway to death's scroll.
Philip C. Kolin is the Distinguished Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of Southern Mississippi where he also edits the Southern Quarterly. His two most recent poetry collections are Emmett Till in Different States: Poems (Chicago: Third World Press, 2015) and Benedict's Daughter: Poems (Eugene, OR: Resource Publications/Wipf and Stock, 2017).