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Thursday, May 06, 2010


by Robin E. Sampson

Detached, I read the news, let my cynical side write
the screenplay, coping mechanisms firmly in place
to keep me from wondering, what if?
Late Saturday afternoon, we emerge from dark
cinema to unseasonably warm New York City
streets crowded with tourists. Times Square
is rarely quiet. We grab a quick dinner, after,
get smoothies, sit for a bit in Bryant Park, watch
families, lovers, theater-goers, picture-takers.
Nothing seems out of the ordinary.
Just blocks away, a drama plays out.
My friend and I sit talking, unawares.
Later that night, after I ride my train home
to Connecticut, I hear the news. Times Square.
Car bomb. Propane. Gasoline. Fireworks. Failed.
I pull up a map on my computer, compare locations;
where my friend and I were, where the car was left.
Realize I do not remember what times we were where.
Thankful for observant street vendors,
not quite reassured by pronouncements
of even if it had of gone off
Over the next few days, as clues are sought anxiously,
suspect identified from a trail of crumbs, caught
just before making his getaway from a life lived
not so far from mine, a half hour, that's all, and despite
the constant news, I don't succumb to terror, can't let
myself imagine any other outcome for that day.
While the media conjectures, tractor-trailer rollovers
influence my life more. Which is good I guess.
Still, I'm discomfited.

Robin E. Sampson writes poetry, fiction, essays, etc. She's been published in the New Verse News, Bent Pin Quarterly, Connecticut River Review, Bitter Oleander, and more, as well as contributing to the book Poem, Revised: 54 Poems, Revisions, Discussions (Marion Street Press, 2008). She recently self-published a chapbook, Lacuna. She's co-curator for the Wednesday Night Poetry Series, a member of the six-woman poetry performance troupe, Shijin, and the editor of Poetry Liner Notes.