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Wednesday, June 08, 2022


by Anne Harding Woodworth

Shot and killed on the campus of Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa on June 1 were (clockwise from top left) patient William Love, physician Preston Phillips, receptionist Amanda Glenn, physician Stephanie Husen. —KOAM, June 2, 2022.

Four makes it mass murder.
But 4 doesn’t compare to 10 or 21
or 26, except that it does.
Brother Sun, shine on them.

Four names in Tulsa
tragically forgotten as coffins
continue to be interred elsewhere.
Mother Earth, hold them all.

Four gunned down
by a brand-new semi-automatic,
all shiny and eager.
Brother wind, evaporate the tears.

Three were in the gunner’s way,
only the fourth was sought—
for revenge against a healer

of pain. Pain infiltrates.
Pain torments the mind
as it does the body.
Sister Moon, light the darkness.

The gun is always there.
It waits. In a drawer.
In a case. On a coffee table.

On a store shelf. Waits
to be bought by a child
until it waits no more,

rides to the hospital
and seeks to inflict pain
on the one who seeks to end it

and the ones who seek to live,
gunned down by a brand-new
semi-automatic, shiny and eager.

Sister Water, write the names.

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of a seventh book of poetry, Trouble, which received the 2022 William Meredith Award for Poetry. Her eighth book, Gender: Two Novellas in Verse, will appear in October.