Nuclear Family

Featured image: Christian Families look to the Church, by H. Armstrong Roberts (1949)

Officer Wolf, you’re failing them.
As you open that door and fall for Tim’s mask.

You’re failing them, while he gloats from the reeking, fake-leather couch,
believing a man’s calculated calm over a mother’s fear-soaked rage.

You’re failing them, with your polished badge and ordered restraint.
Do you really think paper beats a 230-pound rock?

You’re failing them, as Paityn’s small frame quakes in my arms-
a twelve-year old storm withering in your wake.

You’re failing them with empty commands and the promise of bail.
If this were your daughter, would he still be in jail?

You’re failing them. You ignore their purpled flesh and the scent in the air,
but I guess only a woman knows how young girls become victims.

You’re failing them. Do you know a canine’s body echoes as it absorbs a punch?
It rings in my ear while you’re offering him lunch.

Our bags weigh us down, tethered by grief as the night takes us in,
Tetris-ing our lives into one car as you watch from inside.

Even the sky cried that night.


Paige Stoeffler is a senior studying Peace Studies and Theology at Marquette University. She is a Programming Assistant at the Center for Peacemaking, where she self-illustrated and published a children’s book titled, “Sometimes Things Happen.” She enjoys reading and watching pieces in the horror realm in her free time.

H. Armstrong Roberts, “Christian Families look to the Church,” Duke University Libraries (1949): https://idn.duke.edu/ark:/87924/r4ns0ns1j.


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