A Rubaiyat for Landen, Five Years Old

How many feet per second did your thoughts

fall through your skull midair preceding loss?

Fall prey to things we wish that we had done

like caring for the sick? Is that too fraught


with politics? And so instead we shun

the ones who need us most, two separate sons

Both failed by us while up on that third floor

now we all feel a grief I can’t outrun.


The marble floor transformed to site of gore,

onlookers, we who heard, left to implore

The whims and wonders of a sunless sky.

He did a thing that sanity abhors.


At Shake Shack with my family there’s a guy

There with his daughters, then I see his eye

Transfixed. The local news is on the screen

Above our heads. His face is asking why?


And now the news says Landen is between

two worlds. He’s helped by doctors and machines

Emmanuel will now be thrown away

As some among us long for guillotines.


If only we cared as much as we say

we would have taken action on the day

we saw something was wrong, wellness betrayed

by our allegiance to naivete.