She knew before the rest of us.
She had fallen to her knees again
Her legs too weak to hold her up again
As the sobs wracked her body once again.

The family,
Unsure of what to do as they usually are
Brought her favorite blanket,
The one decorated with stars and stripes,
And draped it over her shoulders.
Never mind that it wouldn’t comfort her
Never mind that it has never comforted her
Not in times like that.
Never mind all that –
It makes the family feel better
About ourselves.

Meanwhile mother wept.
She sang a mourning song
Through the tears.
Not that anyone heard.
I’m not even sure I heard.
We all had our own needs
Our own amusements to pursue.

When we wouldn’t listen,
She cried out to the God of her youth
“How long?
How many more children
How many more of my children
Must die?
Why must my children die?!
Why are my children dying?”

Outside the house the rest of the family
Was talking to reporters.
They talked about praying
About change
About mental health challenges
But it was all just talk.
It’s always just talk.

They talk,
Mother weeps
And children die.