Surveillance: A poem about the suspects of the Boston Marathon Bombings

Walking through the crowd with your backpacks
surrounded by happy people on race day,
you weave your way purposefully
down the street
around the corner,
you know where you are going.

I want to reach out
from my vantage point on high
I want to call you by name so you look
I would reach out and put a hand on your cheek
like your mother
I would look in your eyes
looking for the good boy,
I would hold that gaze

What I wouldn’t give
to turn you around
and send you home.
Put those backpacks away.
Take those things apart.
What are you thinking?

I would lay it out for you
show you the cost
the weight of human suffering
the broken bodies families hearts
the backlash the anger
more hatred spewing
and not out there but here
(and I would place my hand on your heart)
you will lose something vital

As you walk with your caps
and your heavy backpacks
what I wouldn’t give to stop you
stop this endless loop of you
walking the wrong way again and again
to the finish line.
Is it never finished?

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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