My father died of pancreatic cancer on this day in 2011. A year later, the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. These two traumatic events have intertwined in my life in ways that I can’t even imagine. The following haibun bears witness to that first anniversary of Dad’s death, and that tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
December 14, 2012
It’s 9:30 in the morning. I take a knee to answer Dayshawn’s question. My co-teacher finishes her lecture about women reformers. Felicia arrives late and settles into her seat up front.
Meanwhile, a gunman shatters the window of a first-grade classroom, enters, and opens fire.
blood splattered on
Noon. Each surviving child holds the shoulder of the child in front. Their eyes are closed, even outside. All my department colleagues and I can do is stare at the live feed. Verna alone has the decency to cry.
sneakers stepping beside
Almost 5:00. I come empty-handed to Dad’s grave at four in the afternoon. Weekend traffic builds on the adjoining I-287. An elderly man wearing an American Legion jacket stares at a headstone decorated by a single wreath.
I kneel and touch the salmon-colored granite. Feel the imprint of his name. The sun shines from just above the tree line.
I have already seen too much death today. But here I am, remembering one more.
murder of crows
a final flight over
first published in Cattails, May 2016 (Editor’s Choice selection)
for dVerse Poets Pub OLN #210. Bjork hosts the last night at the Pub in 2017