Two poems by Laura Grace Weldon

Instead of War  

“America’s post-9/11 military interventions have killed over a half million people.” Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Send our most promising youth
to work with young people
of strife-torn countries, where they build
centers for learning, the arts, healing.
Build understanding. Build friendship.

Send elders to share stories with elders,
poets to write with poets, musicians whose songs,
sung together, reach the marrow as music can do.

Send families to visit families, drink tea,
watch children squabble and play,
seeing in each another
a common desire for safety, belonging, hope.

Consider what trillions spent on destruction
might accomplish for good.
Envision drones delivering ripe fruit;
checkpoints checking out library books;
stockpiled Lego blocks free to any child,
their bright primary colors connecting
into any shape ingenuity makes possible.


Dehumanization Pays

My congressman isn’t in his office for summer recess hours
as promised, so I don’t get to share my shuddering outrage,
don’t get to ask how he sleeps at night. I drive back
through small towns, past farms,
thinking of brave people seeking freedom,
of children seized from loved ones,
of places kept hypothermia cold
where soap and due process are denied.

Border Patrol Facebook posts mock asylum seekers
cruelly as this president does, all
deliberately meant to dehumanize.
Calling people “animals.”
Leaving them in filth, in despair.
Packing human beings tight as products in boxcars.
All meant to make it easier
to build a wall between us and them,
easier to commit human rights violations,
easier to get massive campaign donations
from private prison corporations.
Easier to slide a country
into the tight pockets
of fascism’s slick overcoat.


Laura Grace Weldon is the author of poetry collections Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019) and Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013), and as well as a handbook of alternative education titled Free Range Learning (Hohm Press, 2010). Her background includes teaching nonviolence workshops, writing collaborative poetry with nursing home residents, and facilitating support groups for abuse survivors. She works as a book editor and teaches community writing classes. Connnect with her at

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