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Sunday, January 26, 2014


by Sharon Lask Munson

A little over a year ago
I wrote about a school shooting,
young children on the evening news
making their way to the fire station,
coatless on a cold December day
clad in jeans, cotton shirts.

Their heads were down,
hands planted on the shoulders
of the child in front,
marching between emergency vehicles
and state patrol cars.
Their crying, drowned by the voices on CNN
relating the day’s events.

The park-like setting
in the snowless landscape
displayed the last of autumn’s leaves,
hues of golden yellow to burnt orange—
like an impressionist painting,
all light and shadow.

Today its happened again.
Not a school, but a neighborhood mall.
This time January tones fill the television screen—
snow packed parking lots,
the same biting cold, cold.

Shootings seem remote
until the television announcer
utters Columbia, Maryland
and I race to the phone to call my niece.
You’re home, I say.
Fine, fine, she responds.

We speak of tragedies—
schools, malls, movie theaters.
She speaks of not wanting her children
to live in constant fear.
I remember back to Thurston High,
a shooting closer to home.

We grasp the new meaning for the words, to hide.
We learn the word, lockdown.

Sharon Lask Munson is the author of the chapbook, Stillness Settles Down the Lane (Uttered Chaos Press, 2010) and a full-length book of poems, That Certain Blue (Blue Light Press, 2011).  She lives and writes in Eugene, Oregon.