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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 7: March 2021
Poem: 302 words
By Julie Weiss

The Day I Don’t Tell My Children
About the Capitol Attack


In my children’s hands, a generous scoop 
of hail, tiny crystalline pellets piled 

on the sidewalk after a fleeting storm. 
They want to pocket them as they would 

pebbles or pennies. I tell them not everything 
that twinkles can be exchanged for wishes. 

Not everything can be saved. 
The cricket my daughter finds, flipped 

onto its back, legs barely thrashing the air. 
She lingers, hoping I’ll take it home. 

The viola my son plucked from a tuck 
of soil, its breath brisk then shallow 

then silent between his pressed fingers. 
These moments, trickling away. 

They drop their hail, whether from cold 
or the prickle of disappointment, I’m not sure. 

Elsewhere, terrorists are attempting 
to stage a coup in the country I abandoned 

years before they were born, hate logos 
blazing across their shirts like bullets fired 

through a body, like corpses burning 
on a pyre. They scale walls, smash windows, 

ransack offices, while members of Congress 
barricade themselves in rooms with holes 

where panic buttons used to be. 
How a sky can catch you off guard 

in the still of a poem, peeling off its mask, 
glaring down at you with eyes full of ice. 

I tell my children it’s time to go home. 
Which is to say, I want to wrap them 

in feathers and lullaby, set them afloat 
on a stream of stardust. I want to shield them 

from every revolt along the road of their lives, 
shelter them from the riot of tears to follow. 

What comfort can I provide in a world 
spiraling off its axis like a carnival ride 

gone awry, where trampled animals 
and wilted flower petals and even a sprinkle 

of winter magic will, sooner or later, 
flow back into the earth’s open mouth? 


Julie Weiss
Issue 7, March 2021

is the author of The Places We Empty, her debut chapbook forthcoming from Kelsay Books in July 2021. She was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly’s First Line Poetry Contest and a finalist for The Magnolia Review’s Ink Award. A Best of the Net nominee, her recent work appears in Perhappened, Emerge Literary Journal, and Dust Poetry Magazine, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children.

List of publications and other details are available at poet’s blog: Welcome to My Renaissance

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