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Flowers and Candles by Cheryl Caesar

The bombs are in the mail.

The shooter is in the temple.

Fifteen thugs roam the consulate with a bone saw.


The children are in cages.

The orange one rants, and his rabble

excoriates the victims: “Lock ‘em up!”


I remember Angel Le, comforting his son

after the shootings at Bataclan.


Yes, there are bad guys everywhere.

But we don’t have to move.

France is our home.


They have guns but we have flowers

and candles. Look: people

are laying flowers everywhere.


Where are you, Angel Le?

Please come back and remind us that you are real.

I will bring flowers every day

and candles every night


just to hear your calm voice, and see

your face and your son’s like bright planets

in the darkness, your arms

circling like a protecting sky.


Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany, and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. She has published her poetry and translations of Jean Tardieu’s in Blackberry, The Coe Review, Labyris, The Wayside Quarterly, Stand, and The Dialogue of Nations.

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