The Ekphrastic Review publishes a weekly visual prompt as a way to elicit literary responses. Thank you to them for publishing mine along with many others. It is in response to Rubens The Massacre of the Innocents.
Nothing new here.
Hasn’t it always been so,
this othering? Desire
to rid ourselves from threat
to the kingdom of self.
Murderers might be armored
with righteous fervor
or crowned with orders to obey.
Perhaps untethered voices
scramble one’s mind and a rapacious
quest to still them. Some baked-in-trait,
trick or taint in our genes
commandeers our heads. Centuries
of bloodshed. Blood as dictator
and treasure. More valued
than gold. Yet, it’s the naked
violence against children,
slaughter of the defenseless
we seem unable to quell. We are sick.
Of it all. Aren’t we?