Today’s poem is a bird

A poem by Cynthia Wallace, with my Spanish translation

The Uvalde massacre, & before it the Buffalo massacre, is too painful–& too telling of the deep wrongs of my country. This poem disavows its own importance, but it is necessary right now. We need poets & artists to help us get through these terrible days.

After the poem I’ll link pieces by the wonderful young writer/theologian Danté Stewart that have also helped me. I think you’ll be strengthened by them too.

Peace to you, and hold your children close.

Today’s poem is a bird

perched on the top of a fence.

Does the world need another poem?

The world needs

another bird

perched on the top of a fence.

The world needs me to scrub this pot

and scour this sink and sweep these crumbs.

The world needs me to brush this budding

grown-up tooth in my boy’s mouth,

and all the baby teeth beside it.

The world needs

to cry out for the baby teeth,

the milk teeth,

the ragged grown-up teeth

not yet smooth,

gunned down on this very day

in the United States of America.

The world needs to sing a keening sorrow song

with the mothers seeing their children’s toothbrushes tonight,

the notes so true they ring out a silent scream.

The world doesn’t need another poem.

The world needs a revolution.

The mothers need to have their children.

The mothers need to be telling their babies to

brush their teeth and get along to bed.

Cynthia R. Wallace

El poema de hoy es un pájaro.

posado en lo alto de una cerca.

¿Necesita el mundo otro poema?

El mundo necesita

otro pájaro

posado en lo alto de una cerca.

El mundo necesita que yo friegue esta olla

y que restriegue el fregadero y barra estas migajas.

El mundo necesita que yo cepille este capullo

de diente adulto en la boca de mi niño,

y todos los dientes de leche a su lado.

El mundo necesita

clamar por los dientes de leche,

los dientes de adulto irregulares

aún no alisados,

en este mismo día acribillados a balazos

en los Estados Unidos de América.

El mundo necesita una canción de luto esta noche

con las madres que miran los cepillos de dientes de sus hijos,

notas tan afinadas que resuenan en grito silencioso.

El mundo no necesita otro poema.

El mundo necesita una revolución.

Las madres necesitan tener a sus hijos.

Las madres necesitan mandarles a sus bebés

que se cepillen los dientes y suban a la cama.

—C. R. Wallace, translated by Ruth Goring

An interview and an essay from Danté Stewart for this time of grief:

“After Uvalde school shooting, minister Danté Stewart says to protect your humanity in grief,” interview by Tonya Moseley and Samantha Raphelson on Here and Now, WBUR (Boston Public Radio)

“After shootings in Buffalo and Texas, it’s clear dark days require deep love,” Andscape