"A poem cannot stop a bullet. A novel can't defuse a bomb. But we are not helpless. We can sing the truth and name the liars." Salman Rushdie, May 2022
This poem is only published here.
USA After Newtown, Connecticut
Photo in the newspaper
finally broke me—
little girl with the same hat
I’d just bought my own 1st grader
at Target. Brown and pink fleece.
Was she wearing it that day?
I had to throw ours out, always thinking
of it that way. Blood on our hands
as we shop at the mall. Shopping holds us
closer than a drop-off hug.
I think too often of every little
piece of clothing they wore. So many I don’t
know the number anymore. But their tiny Levi’s,
boots from JCPenney, Old Navy sweaters—
for every warm thing they threw on that morning
snatched from a dryer or hamper,
for each hat, someone else is a copy,
going on like nothing happened.