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Thursday, April 02, 2015


by Joan Colby

Crews have torn down the home of the man who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Mass. The school was demolished in November, 2013. AP photo via Time, March 25, 2015.

Nothing will bring them back.
The shooter killed himself as well
So the marble hand of justice
Cannot signal. There’s no one left to punish
Except the building where it took place.
Halls of learning. Books and desks
Stained with the memory of what happened.
Then the house where he planned the monstrous
Acts of unreason. Nothing left but to
Tear it all down. To burn the ground where they stood
And then maybe in time to plant
Something green and tend it.
It seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

I can’t help but be reminded
Of my friend accidentally kicked
By her horse and then lay comatose
For weeks on the narrow ledge of dying.
Her husband in his grief
Had the horse killed. What else could he do?
What could relieve this? Nothing. Nothing.
She woke to the empty stall of loss.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press