[on account of being immunocompromised]

Orange candles burn today at the hands
of we who have heard or believe in
those faint whispers from behind the veil,
those conversations between gods.
The smoke spreads into the sky, meets
like-minded smoke, forms protective barriers
around our brothers and sisters fighting
where we cannot, plugging their ears,
barricading their nostrils and mouths,
keeping their eyes dry. It may not stop
the bullets, rubber or no, or the billy clubs
or horse hooves or plexiglass shields.
It may not stop the dancing police
or bloodied college kids or shrugging
indifferent passers-by concerned only with
the state of their cars. Sometimes communion,
though, is a form of protection. Sometimes
holding hands is barrier enough, even if
one hand is a fist raised in the air and the other
is a flame burning in my heart. The universe
whispers in smoke, speaks through our wax,
stands pregnant with blue irises, holds
its own fist high over its head, smoldering.