For Reference

For Reference

by Allyson Whipple

I. My thesaurus doesn’t have an entry for “genocide.”

Perhaps because some horrors are too strong for synonyms. Or perhaps because genocide
happens to other people, other nations, and Random House cares more about foreign book rights
than it does foreign people, so Americans don’t need more than one word for it. But remnants of
what might have been litter roads all over the world. Shells of potential, allowed little more than
a first breath, get slaughtered on sight, as though human life amounts to anything cheaper than

II. My dictionary pretends that American’s don’t have a role in this.

As though we don’t commit violence against nation upon nation, that we don’t murder each
other, that we’re not driving this nation to suicide. PETA screams that meat is murder, but
in some countries, daughters don’t get the care afforded to animals bound for slaughter. In
America, we don’t care about children only allowed to live for a moment. Who get bludgeoned
like prizefighters who can defend themselves. Who get frozen like leftovers that nobody wants to
eat. Who get ignored like raisins in the sun—to wither, to explode, the outcome doesn’t matter.

Please feel free to leave poetry under Your Poetry in the comments.  

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