December 15, 2012


I picture the parents
mangled by a grief so heavy
it is hard to breathe

but hearing about it in my car
I am the opposite
hollowed out by the impossibility
of so much anguish
I float above the facts
desperate to un-know them

my son sings his ABCs
in French
in the backseat

I want to sing with him
to laugh
to call somebody’s God down
to undo this

but part of me also wants to yell at him
wants him to stop painting joy
on top of this day of thrashing souls

I pull over instead
I am late for a meeting
but I climb in the backseat
my face close to his
I try not to cry
as he looks at me
his hands on my face
as wretched images
fill me up

I whisper
no no no
and try to focus on the gift
of his breath.

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10 comments / Add Yours

I wonder today if it is easier,better, more acceptable to lose a child to an illness or in this horrific way; and all I can conclude is that both a parents’ worst nightmare. However it happens, whenever it happens, we are never right again. They are no more.


Heartfelt… I’m a parent, too, and can really relate to wanting to hold them tightly forever now. I’m also a poet, and I must say this poem is exquisite.


Beautiful and honest. Brought me to tears! I felt similarly. That night I was holding my daughter while she slept and just cried. I can’t imagine what the families and communities are feeling. There aren’t words.


Thank you for this – thank you from my soul


Very good poem that captures what most of us parents have been feeling since Friday. Thank you for sharing.


This is why there is poetry. Thank you…


There are no words to tell you how your poem makes me feel.


Beautiful Samantha, but so very sad that you even had to write this …. this — I wish we could call ‘somebody’s God down and undo it all …


Thank you for this. It brought the tears that have been holding back.


Thank you for your words, the way they reach into my soul, the way they help me breathe out what I feel today.

My son tells me the news
There has been another school massacre in America
I sympathise, make the right noises but I feel almost blase
It’s there, not here.

The the radio repeats the story,
Kindy kids shot, dead, such little lives cut short
And my heart breaks
Silent tears trying to escape,
Biting my lip to stop the gulping sobs that want to explode.

I watch my son closely the rest of the day
Wanting to hug him, hold him close
A teenager but still my baby
And my heart breaks again
That he has to feel that sorrow too.


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