we wheel her into the emergency room
external internal bleeding
static on the radio, television, internet
broken bones, wounds needing sutured
militant groups moving like gangrene
up her legs, down her arms
fires in the ribs, the chest, refugees
walking across the plains of her
collar bones

cancer of the heart
cancer of the soul, of the spirit
cancer of the nightly news
the thought of bomb
cancer of the human mind
vague treatment options
in paper pamphlets

some of us wait
in the lobbies of the hospitals
for what feels like

cancer of the everything

cancer of nigeria
syria, cancer of paris
cancer of time

when you fire recklessly
into the sky
don’t be surprised
if you shoot god down

and we are all of us falling
into soft beds of hope
restless and writhing
into giant vats of fear
stirring around in ignorance
endless newsfeed
eternally moving through snapshots
of distant reality
blood looks different on camera
sirens are silent in pictures

you cannot hold something digital

you can listen
and look for the helpers

the average human hand
is one hundred and eighty one
millimeters in length
but you’d be jawdropped
to find the length
of untapped compassion
that they can carry

do not be
wind up teeth
scathing across the map
of the world wide web

water is always holy
so take each ounce of your holy water
boil it into steam
and let rise the unrest
that is cooking in your kitchen

inject it intravenously
into our common vein

take the chest paddles
in your chest
and apply pressure
send electricity
through your wires
move like blood cells
to the source of the pain

do not be the left hand
that does not know
what the right is doing

a good tactic
to ground one’s self
is to touch something

press your hands together
and pray

in whatever way
that you wish to pray


Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.


    1. I can’t believe how much tragedy there is going on. I feel if anything can come out of all this, it’s that we start to realize we are one world. Thanks for reading my poetry. I hope you have a lovely night.

  1. Brice, you have one of the biggest hearts in the internet – and you are one of the best poets of this century – in my humble and non-esteemed opinion. Thanks for sharing the light that flows through you.

  2. This expresses starkly the fear, misery and agony of our times while offering hope that we can reconnect by touch. Reminds me of the image of Buddha, touching the earth to confound his demons. Thanks for the line: “water is always holy” at the point where the poem seems to change direction.

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