Thanks so much for the gracious response to the first poem posted yesterday. Your emails, comments and Facebook messages were much appreciated.
Here’s another, completely the opposite of yesterday’s short and silly poem:
April 20, 1999
I’m eating baked beans from a round bowl,
so the dark, sweet sauce doesn’t crawl across the plate
and contaminate my other food.
My fries are getting cold.
In Littleton, Colorado,
helicopters hover above a school
where kids huddle in corners, hiding from classmates turned hunters.
My father is eating beans too.
He is quiet, and he is never quiet.
His hand hoists the spoon to his lips, and I watch it tremble.
Drops of brown splatter back into his bowl.
He was quiet like this when we watched Oklahoma City,
sitting on the couch in our old apartment.
He was quiet for a day, then angry for another,
but by the third, things were normal again.
For all the adults.
They weren’t whispering anymore.
It was gone.
The same happened after Jonesboro, Arkansas.
And then three days later we saw Derek Jeter hit a triple to left-center field,
munching Cracker-Jacks on a sun-splashed New York afternoon,
laughing as he slid in head-first, hugging the bag.
News anchor Brian Williams is on the television now, talking to psychiatrists.
He is wearing a blue and white tie that matches his suit perfectly.
The sheriff just told a reporter that the more press this event gets,
(yes, they are now calling it an event)
the more likely it will happen again somewhere else.
Now Brian Williams is telling the psychiatrist,
or was it a psychologist,
that twenty five dead kids is a legitimate news story.
He says they have a duty to fly helicopters, cross behind yellow police-tape,
and ask a freshman how it feels to watch her sister get shot in the back.
Later on, my dad returns home,
and asks mom if she remembered to tape NYPD Blue.
She says yes.
MSNBC has been turned off for a while now,
ever since the gunmen were reported dead.
He says he was listening to the Yankee game on the car radio.
They’re winning 4-0.
“Conie’s pitching a gem and Paulie knocked two out of the park.”
Sunday, he reports, is Joe DiMaggio Day at the stadium.
He pokes at cold beans and asks if we want to go.