Another Day After
—May 25th, 2022
I’m looking at nothing
out the window trying to remember
the last time it wasn’t raining
when our kindergartner’s voice rings out
clear as forked lightning
through a mouthful of Cheerios:
my safe spot is under the teacher’s desk
only four of us can fit
I try to stop the next thought
before it clouds grey in my mind
distilled and terrible as a storm in the casing
of my skull.
Her older sister, a fifth-grader not to be outdone
recites her pledge:
my country ‘tis of thee
sweet land of liberty…
you cling to your violence
tighter than a security blanket, don’t you?
dragging its tatters behind you
long after you should’ve outgrown it.
Your newsfeed is engorged
on blood like a spring tick.
You offer only prayers
as empty as air
in the brief silence
between this flood of bullets
and the next.
The rivers are rising in the downpour.
They are shrugging off the vulnerable
shale of their banks.
When we drop our girls off at school this morning
we take them right up to the door
open the door for them
fold their umbrellas
watch them walk through and away
until there is nothing left in the closing glass
but our own faces wet in the endless rain.
by Lane Henson
Editor’s Note: This lament demonstrates the only way poetry and art can grapple with absolute tragedy—stuttering, shocked, inadequate.
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