An Apology Remiss

20 caskets, small and shaped like angels, sublime

Souls taken so early, you were still much less worldly THAN you were divine

And with you, royal innocence crowned,

Are buried all of our excuses, six feet beneath the ground

Entombed are our alibies that we were too busy and that we couldn’t make a change

That we had bigger problems, and that you’re killer was just deranged

We excuse ourselves into thinking we had no part

And we forgive ourselves without asking for forgiveness from our hearts

We stand back and try to wash the red off our palms

We hold prayer vigils, and sing guilt-ridden tribute songs

We unite but for a moment, in collective mourning and grief

And then we sleep off our contrition, the morning comes as a relief

We then pretend this never happened and try to forget

That Newtown is just a symptom and the disease still festers yet

So before I close my eyes and turn my back on you like the rest of them

I have composed a written apology before slipping into the bliss of being purposefully blind,

To every single child in this world that has been left to suffer, on behalf of all humankind:

I am sorry.

That this life has been too much for us with all of its stresses and demands

That we have held on to our own desires instead of holding on to your little hands

I am sorry that you will never live out your dreams or get to graduation

That bombs and guns were your teachers and injustice was your education

I am sorry that we couldn’t yet figure out this whole thing about living in peace,

Because we have found it is it is hard to love and hate comes too easy

I am sorry that when I saw so much oppression, I chose to sit by quietly

When I may have had a chance to speak up, I watched and cried silently

I am sorry that I didn’t do my part although I knew I should

And that bullets reached your heart much faster than I ever could

I am sorry I was not able to give you enough role models to admire

I am sorry on behalf of this generation for absolving ourselves by blaming the one prior

I am sorry for obsessing about the present and living in the past

Instead of thinking about the future, always putting you last

I am sorry for all of the unsung lullabies and bedtime stories that will go unread

For the never-to-be laughs and the ‘I love you’s’ that will go unsaid

I am sorry that the part of mankind you witnessed was the worst

Like all of the Adam Lanza’s in the world, who we probably failed first

I Am So Sorry

And when you reach heavens gates, all of you together

And Abraham, with open arms guides you into paradise to play forever

Explain to him that you were never meant to be a sacrifice, and that you unjustly died

And that the only ones left to grieve for are those who still consider themselves alive

Because, though the angel of death came and collected your souls early, in reality

You remain alive with God and what really died was our humanity.

Ahmad Yousaf

Ahmad is a second year medical resident in internal medicine and pediatrics.  He lives in Little Ferry, NJ with his wife Angie, and has been performing spoken word poetry for 7 years now.

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