Chicago Columbaria

July 7, 2017
By Philip C. Kolin
Portside.org (July 7, 2017)

A native of Chicago, the poet Philip C. Kolin laments how the City of Broad Shoulders has become a death trap for the young. 

Chicago Columbaria
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.
	
	Chicago columbaria,
	morgue capital
	
	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,
	
	walking tombstones
	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).


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