Shantha J. Bunyan

Three Poems

When The Sky Fell

When I first loved you the sky was falling
protesters in the street, signs aloft
bombs dropping, people dying, far away
and we held each other, believing we could all be free.
When I last loved you, the sky was falling
protesters in the street, signs aloft
knees dropping, people dying, so close
too close.
that knee was a bomb dropped on your throat
stopping your breath, your life.
Now, though I love you, I cannot hold you.
tear gas didn’t begin my weeping
but the tears will not stop now.
and I worry that your death, one of so many
will be missed among the pieces of fallen sky.
But the bombs burst in our hearts now
the fire is lit.
your memory burns, ignites.
this time, change will come.
we will rebuild the sky


I Used to Dream #19

In the days when our country was new, we
Used to believe that America would be a beacon,
Shining forth for all the nations, an incredible
Example of how people could live together in harmony,
Dreaming of a future where all people could be free
To live as one nation of equals, regardless of the color of
Our skin. We wanted to be judged on our characters but
Dark days did not end and over time we all saw
Reality play out quite differently and we learned
Equality is much more elusive than anyone ever imagined.  But
After years of oppression, those of us held down by our
Melanin now rise up, reclaiming the promise that was America.
           ...I used to dream.


Haiku on Air Quality and Equality
air quality used
to be a cause for concern –
we can’t breathe bad air!
now the air is clear,
Earth is healing while we die –
choking on COVID

in this pandemic
some cop knelt on George Floyd’s neck,
choking his life’s breath
just like the virus
flames of anger spread quickly
across our country
so riots began
“Black lives matter!” we chanted
and cried “I can’t breathe!”
then fires were lit
police precincts burned, more deaths
fueled by oppression
racism for years
intolerance, injustice
exploded in flames
across the nation
smoke billowed into the sky
a sign of our pain
peaceful protesters
finally became the norm
not the rioters
still we are dying
from violence and viruses
no one is untouched
this flame burns us all
leaving indelible marks
scars that will not heal
we must find a way
to heal our land and people
we all need to breathe.

Shantha J. Bunyan is a scuba dive master currently land-locked in her native Colorado. A former surgical technician, she received a BA in Neuroscience from Colorado College, but was able to spend the majority of the past six years living abroad, visiting over 35 countries. “Shantha” means “peace” in Telugu, her father’s native tongue, and Shantha was named for her grandmother, who was named for her grandmother. Her poetry appears in What Rough Beast, “Put into Words, My Love” a Petite Pomme, by Pomme Journal, and 140Max Magazine. Some of her travel adventures can be found at

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