Charleston Massacre

He had grown bloated
on the red hot empty calories
of right wing race hatred.

He carried his gun hidden
in his pants like sex power
into a church to murder.

What safer place to slaughter?
On city streets someone else
might be carrying, but church

was guaranteed to let him
kill without danger to himself.
Black, brown, caramel faces

praying.  Easy for him as paper
targets at a shooting range, like
mechanical ducks crossing

on a midway.  How brave I am
he thought as he shot them down
preacher, mother, teacher, other

to him whose white skin’s a license:
the right to hate, the right to seek
the defenceless and gorge on blood.

Marge Piercy is a poet, novelist, and activist.  She is the author of eighteen poetry books, most recently The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems, 1980-2010 (Knopf, 2011).  Her most recent novel is Sex Wars (Harper Perennial, 2005), and she has just published her first collection of short stories, The Cost of Lunch, Etc. (PM Press, 2014).  Piercy is also a frequent contributor to Monthly Review.