Blood, rubble, hate, outrage
what hysterical god made
forgiveness and reconciliation
so difficult?

It appears we can never walk together
our words congeal and dissolve on the screen of I
blame assigned as precisely as a misguided missile
as carefully as a spent cartridge on concrete.

Miles and years away we both thresh pain
seeking to express this upwelling
that language
yours or mine

perhaps dance or music
or silence
but not the thought-filled one
it must be the empty cup

raised in expectation
that it will be filled
before my arm
crumbles in the wind.

How do we
antidote our histories
to take the next step
arm in arm?


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.