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Monday, February 22, 2016


by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

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.