i wrote this poem in response to the shootings at wedgewood baptist church, which accured about a year after the columbine shootings. this one struck me hard because i *knew* people that were going to this church for the youth gathering in which the shootings accured, they were just running late.
i'm looking at a picture.
a picture of a girl, a young
woman on the verge
of change, on the cusp
of becoming, who should be concerned only
with what movie to see, what boy
to date, what dress
to wear to the prom. instead,
she's shaking like her bones
have turned to leaves or sheaves
of paper. like she'll never
feel summer again.
it's bright in this picture. the sun is low
and hard in the texas sky. she is still
shaking, waiting for everything
to make sense, for the world,
her quiet safe world, to comfort her.
waiting for someone to say it will be
okay. an older woman is in the picture,
talking to someone outside of the frame,
her back to the girl.
i want to say, "turn
around, look at her, hold her, rub her
back, run your hand over her hair. you're
an adult. make sense of this. make her feel
safe again." that's what she needs. what
i need. what we all need. some order. some explanation. line
up the causes clearly, a matched set
of green glass bowls, tidy and honest.
i look at this picture so long my eyes
burn. i can't make the woman turn
to face the girl. i can't make sense of it.
i can't get it out of my head.