Poem: To a Terrorist

To a Terrorist
–Stephen Dunn

For the his­tor­i­cal ache, the ache passed down
which finds its cir­cum­stance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem

with­out hope, know­ing there’s nothing,
not even revenge, which alleviates
a life like yours. I offer it as one

might offer his father’s ashes
to the wind, a gesture
when there’s noth­ing else to do.

Still, I must say to you:
I hate your good reasons.
I hate the hate­ful­ness that makes you fall

in love with death, your own included.
Per­haps you’re hat­ing me now,
I who own my own house

and live in a coun­try so muscular,
so smug, it thinks its ter­ror is meant
only to mean well, and to protect.

Christ turned his sin­gu­lar cheek,
one man’s holi­ness anoth­er’s absurdity.
Like you, the rest of us obey the sting,

the surge. I’m just speak­ing out loud
to can­cel my silence. Con­sid­er it an old impulse,
doomed to become mere words.

The first poet prob­a­bly spoke to thunder
and, for a while, believed
thun­der had an ear and a choice.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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