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James Duncan

Photo by  Tao Wen  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tao Wen on Unsplash

I love three people who voted for hate
there's no way to reconcile this ache
I have walked away from others, but
there are three people I love
who voted for hate
and it makes me feel less
than I am for allowing this, but how much
more can this evil strip from us?
how much are we willing to feed it?
everything we are? every memory and
possibility? it is a hunger that won't quit
a laughing mocking evil hunger
and I see people feeding
that fire, throwing in hope and homes
and neighbors and infants, their flesh
curling and burning in a fire so hot it is now
white, white, it screams to be white
and I threw in those who rallied for that fire
gave up peace and pieces of my heart...
yes, I fed that fire too, but there
are three people I love who voted for hate
and I cannot throw them in, I cannot
not yet, I will not give the fire everything
I will hold on to them and work every day
to show these three that what they stand against
is cool and calm and not a raging reckless thing
but a silent, stoic force who did not abandon
them for lack of "loyalty" or the kind of
groveling fealty this fire demands,
for one day they may yet see, and someone
must be there to help them up, tell them,
"I know, I know, and now you know too"
but that day is a long way off, and might never
come around, but that hope too I will not
give the fire, I hold that back
for me, for them, and for whatever is left
in this scorched earth America when
the fire finally dies, and the skies clear
and we go forth to see what
we've become in the aftermath

James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and author of the new poetry collection, We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine (Unknown Press, 2017). For more info, visit