A man is shooting people from his truck, just
any people. Four old friends. A father and son.
A mother walking with her kids. A teenager
now on life support. Our town is such a nice
town, this hurts us all. We are not perfect, but
we are a town that tries. I stayed home the day
after the shootings. I didn’t want to see anyone.
At home I could pretend things were the same,
that my KIA dealership was not the one that . . .
that the close by restaurant was not where . . .
but today, I left my sanctuary under overcast
skies. I remember when JFK was killed how
the clouds were gray and girls said even the sky
was crying. We were young and made meaning
from it and now, we are old and know there is
no meaning, only the terrible coincidence of living
your life as if it was yours to keep instead of
target practice for some killer. Kalamazoo is so
small, I know someone who knows him. I want to
drive by my dealership. I don’t know why. Instead
I head downtown to retrieve a lost umbrella. No
easy smiles on the street. The sky, if it’s not already
crying, will be soon.
A retired professor of English at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Elizabeth Kerlikowske served 25 years as president of Friends of Poetry in Kalamazoo.