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Friday, July 15, 2016

VACATION DURING A WEEK OF KILLINGS

by Gail Martin


A truck drove into a crowd at Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France, leaving many dead and sending hundreds running for safety. —The New York Times, July 14, 2016. Photo by Eric Gaillard/Reuters.

One daughter posts a picture of her face, sad,
reading Hannah Arendt On Violence; my husband
watches Wimbledon, says he has no perspective
on it yet. One daughter is growing a son. Her app
says he’s the size of a coconut. Another texts
from the West: I can’t sleep -- I feel traumatized.
A client calls from home to say his anxiety’s up.
People kayak on the flat lake, ignoring the thunder.
This makes me anxious. The dog sleeps beneath
the dining room table. All I want is to read 89 Ways
to Love Summer!  Can we afford to let sleeping dogs lie?
I take my pills, prelude to a walk, and eat strawberries,
small and sweet, on Cheerios. Wheaties are more
American but my daughters can’t tolerate wheat.
How much can we tolerate? The storm is sweeping
across the lake. I need a megaphone to shout out
my grief and anger. My fear. If you hear thunder,
the warning repeats over and over on the news,
you’re close enough to be struck by lightning.


Gail Martin’s book Begin Empty-Handed won the Perugia Press Poetry prize in 2013 and was awarded the Housatonic Prize for Poetry in 2014. Her first book The Hourglass Heart (New Issues Press), was published in 2003. New work is forthcoming in Tar River Poetry and The Southern Review. Martin works as a psychotherapist in private practice in Kalamazoo, MI.