haikai

#Throwdown Thursday 12/14/17: December 14, 2012…#haibun #haiku #poetry

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.

morning chill
blood splattered on
picture books

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.

cloudless sky
sneakers stepping beside
unseen bodies

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
bare Maples

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

25 replies »

  1. Oh how this brings back memories of that day, of the shooting at VA Tech, half of those kids I knew and helped through engineering exams….and your father’s death. this is a sock in the gut Frank. I think of inserting my mother’s ashes into the grave of her mother back in September. This is heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When you layer all those memories on top of each other it becomes so strong. Reminds me of when I came back from Japan and transferring in Heathrow the news on the terrible attack on the school in Beslan was on the news… I had not followed the news and there it was… so many dead children and teachers all at once.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The layers work very well here Frank and I remember watching the news that day too. So many spirits rising to heaven together leave a gap in our energetic web that takes a lot of readjusting. Sending healing thoughts your way xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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