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Thursday, March 31, 2016


by Mary Leonard

A VIEW OF ISIS’S EVOLUTION IN NEW DETAILS OF PARIS ATTACKS. A wounded man was evacuated at the Bataclan concert hall during the Paris attacks in November. Investigators hope the arrest of Salah Abdeslam will shed new light on the assaults. Photo credit: Yoan Valat/European Pressphoto Agency via NY Times, March 19, 2016

                         While reading the Sunday Times on my daughter's birthday

"He turned and looked at the people,  and with a
 smirk, apologized and blew himself up."

It matters that you notice the bulky layers,
the anorak with fur collar on a warm night.

It matters that you go through security, open
your backpack, the trunk of your car, be

Frisked, attention, TATP, bombs, answer personal questions.
I'll tell you this: notice him, her, everyone

Alone. Do you understand? That one.
Attention must be paid. This one.

"TATP bombs require real training,
a skilled bomb maker," A Start Up

Bomb Factory? something for your
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs?

It matters that you notice, the absence
No phone, the blank stare, nothing

"Forget small scale attacks," a senior
ISIS said, "hit everyone and everything."

You must pay attention. Your life matters.
Your child matters. Her school matters.

Be wary of men in tracksuits with logos
of nearby teams. Be wary what their

Hats say.  Notice if they look so calm
they'd accept ball bearings inside their flesh

Listen to me, this is your mother
speaking. The world is not

safe. The world is not
an oyster here for the taking.

Forget the sound of waves,
the smell of salt, all the sweet flowers

Where? Long time asking . . . 
And I will ask, Where have they gone.

Mary Leonard has published chapbooks at 2River, Pudding House, Antrim House Press, and RedOchreLit. Her poetry has appeared in The Naugatuck Review, Hubbub, Cloudbank, The Chronogram, Blotterature and most recently in Red River, Ilya's Honey, and A Rat's Ass. She lives in an old school house overlooking the Rondout Creek in Kingston, NY.  Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches writing workshops for all ages through the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College