A god so missed a missile


It never turns out well when gods doze
    at the universal wheel. I believe in deities
as almost all folks have. From Zeus to Atlas,

all down the hierarchy ruled from above –
    created to help us sleep in peace,
and given authority to summon our souls.

Human evolution assigned various names –
    gods for all stripes – matured
as protectors and schooled earthly prophets.

Maybe not for me to witness in my time, but
    I think days will come when they step in
and freshen up our seas, and air, and land.

Wave of their hand, like we press of a button,
    activates benevolent beams or charmed rays
to solve our crazy-kid stupidity, check rampant hostility.

Neutralize nuclear missiles. Dethrone despots
    and crackpots. Wag a rigid finger
at our rambunctious behaviors, and reckless tendencies.

Chide us to straighten our shoulders as we
    shrug off spilling the adversary’s blood.
But this week proves newly evolved gods need their rest:

24/7 is a hell of an expectation. Asleep while dark forces
    spin mayhem’s blanket This week some hand’s
idle fingers failed to snag a stray rocket-bomb:

it landed on a triage of the already suffering.
    Tickets punched on so many more already late.
Impeccable gods don’t need iron domes or deterrents.

Their tractor-beam eyes should halt assault and vengeance.
    Flip of a golden switch to protect offspring,
and grands, and goldfish. I inhale ash and concede

godly neophytes have a learning curve like
    wrongheaded humans. Earthshattering, yes,
    but I’ll look past failures and relaunch faith
to help modulate our hatred going forward.

About the Poem

A response to the errant missile strike on the hospital in Gaza. To whom do we petition or pray?

About the Author

Sam Barbee has a new poetry collection, Apertures of Voluptuous Force (2022, Redhawk Publishing). He has three previous collections, including That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016. A two-time Pushcart nominee, his poems recently appeared in Salvation South, Verse Virtual, Ekphrastic Review, and Grand Little Things; plus online journals Dead Mule School of Literature, and American Diversity Report.

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