"A Hidden Loss," "Tops Friendly Markets," and "Protest"

A Hidden Loss

The art of listening is fading,

the way light fades at the end

of the day, when we need

lamps, candles that erase

the shadows of the lies

we cling to, and separation,

the quiet understanding

that unites us.



Tops Friendly Markets

In a neighborhood in Buffalo, New York,

a young man headed for the grocery store

where a mother was buying ice cream

for her daughter, and people were lining

the aisles, talking to each other.


When he entered, he lifted his rifle

shooting and killing ten people

and wounding others. This small

area of Black people is low

income, but its infrastructure is


made of kindness and the place was

always vibrant with people who

were helping each other. People

lit candles across from Tops,

flowers were laid in remembrance,


and now they are traumatized, afraid

to go out. But we do not grieve or

reach out to each other in our country.

The story will fade from our memories

and people move on to their own


concerns; high inflation, the price

of gas, and what was once at the

margins is now in the center,

"replacement theory," the motto of

White Supremacy, the loud voices on


the far right claiming that they were

the real Christians, and the silence

of those who were not affected,

denying our history and the need

for profound changes.




Rows of small shoes were placed

by candles in Helsinki

to protest the killing of 210

children in Mariupol, to awaken


us to the empty arms of mothers,

fathers, grandmothers, aunts,

and uncles, a loss that            

stretches before a country


that is not only physically

damaged, but emotionally facing

a long and tortuous road

ahead while people speak


of bringing war crimes to the

U.N. that cannot respond as

a government would, and

sanctions that intertwine


national needs with the Ukraine's.

How will we respond to

the loss of a generation, with

an empty roadway ahead.



Besides writing books, Marguerite Guzman Bouvard has spent her life volunteering on behalf of social justice. She has been writing to a black prisoner in Lincoln Nebraska, helping him with his poetry, and has published a chapbook of his work called Soul Songs. We need to know that our prisons are filled with mostly black and Latino prisoners, many of whom made only minor offenses. Her new poetry book is Shades of Meaning and she is working on a non-fiction book, Climate Visionaries Around the World. She will have a new poetry book coming out in 2023. Marguerite supports the Mississippi Center for Justice.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 - 22:08