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Saturday, December 14, 2013


by Shirley J. Brewer

In remembrance of December 14, 2012

Make the manual severe
in appearance: the cover dark,
a title deeply engraved.

Select paper that weighs
down the hand, every page
suffering between its peers

clothed in black type. Allow
an abundance of question marks,
the agony of white space.

Words confound. Include
birdsong, tulips in bloom,
strawberries, vanilla mist.

Call this book Newtown.
Say it softly. Families still weep.
Craters pock their hearts.

Wait, start over. Change the cover.
Choose pinks, blues, soft greens, yellows
for the children, their teachers.

Add pictures of the dead,
each in a favorite shirt or dress—
not the ones with bullet holes.

Let sweet memories repeat. Let grief
bleed into ink. Write one chapter at a time.
You will never reach the end.

Shirley J. Brewer is a poet, educator, and workshop facilitator. In addition to previous poems in The New Verse News, her poetry has appeared in The Cortland Review, Comstock Review, Passager, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and other publications. Her poetry chapbook, A Little Breast Music, was published in 2008 by Passager Books. A second book of poems, After Words, was published in 2013 by Apprentice House/Loyola University.