Mercalli scale


Fifth Estate # 406, Spring, 2020

For every child born craving and abandoned

every child whose belly bulged with emptiness

every child who cried alone in a bare white room

every child wounded by a father, uncle, grandfather

every child told to pick up guns against other children

every child who worked below dank ground

every child shaken, burned, bruised:

for every child who has ever endured,

may an infinite army of children march

across bridges, invade cities, skulk in forests,

steal into beds, cram rivers, swarm roads,

the sound of small-footed multitudes a rageful roar

growing louder and louder until one great unceasing howl

cracks open this unspeakable earth to swallow

those who ever hurt a single child.

Robin Dellabough is a poet, editor and writer. Her poems have appeared in numerous small press publications, and she has written, edited and contributed to more than sixty books. She lives in Irvington, N.Y.