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Thursday, June 09, 2022


by Nan Ottenritter
on the eve of the January 6 hearings

Television crews and technicians prepare for Thursday night's hearing by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, on June 7. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP via The Washington Post)

I want to say my saddest moment of my life
was when my first love left me, my father died, or
when we pulled the plug on my terminally ill brother.
I want to say the saddest day of my life
was a missed job opportunity, a miscarriage,
a failed novel.
But truth be told, it was seeing
our stormed Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The cracked glass, ransacked desks.
Hearing screams of trapped Capitol Police,
chants of hanging Mike Pence,
the hubris of those unquestioning, disrespectful
of all I have come to regard as second only to god,
sacred as only sacred in a secular sense can be.
How can you not appreciate our American democracy?
This democracy is the only life I know.
Please don’t take it away from me, from us.
Let me talk to you of miracles,
moments of shame and victory,
moments shared and shattered,
moments that are, like it or not, our collective lives.
I want to remain with you.
And you?

Nan Ottenritter lives and writes in Richmond, VA. Her first chapbook Eleanor, Speak is available from Finishing Line Press.