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Monday, May 01, 2023


by Diane Elayne Dees

The sign is hard to miss,
as shoppers cross 
the parking lot to buy
t-shirts, groceries, toys,
bath towels, cosmetics.
The sign next to it 
is even bigger, and 
just as serious, warning
patrons that abuse of any kind
toward staff will not be tolerated,
and that law enforcement
will be notified. Maybe someday,
those signs will appear normal—
the new normal, that assumes
that we are all under threat of attack
at every moment in any place.
Or maybe someday, 
in a parallel universe, 
it will be normal not to carry
shotguns and knives on errands,
or—in a different galaxy—
normal to treat people with respect.
In the meantime, every time I pass,
I wonder about the little girls and boys
—already anxious, already frightened,
clinging to their teddy bears—
I wonder what must have happened
inside that glass-enclosed pediatric clinic,
and I wonder what will happen next.

Diane Elayne Dees is the author of the chapbooks Coronary Truth (Kelsay Books) The Last Time I Saw You (Finishing Line Press), and The Wild Parrots of Marigny (Querencia Press). Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.