Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Poem For Marathon Day 2013

I wrote this poem last year the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. Having lived in New York City on September 11, 2001, so much of the experience of public tragedy felt familiar, but on a smaller scale. In New York we were a mile and a half from the site; this time, eight miles away in Medford. I still struggle with how the lives of those lost in that tragedy--because it seemed so random--are perceived to be more publicly grievable than others (I blogged about this for my parish--see that post here). "Urban violence" is seen as somehow expected, and therefore less worthy of the attention. This is, obviously total bullshit.  But that fact also doesn't make it less traumatic for a bomb to go off on a clear April day.

Marathon Day, or April 15, 2013

This is the day as it becomes
the date
4/15, 9/11, 7/7 the list
goes on

Our faces know this pinched expression
tightly turned in lips
lines deepening between tired yes

Our faces will stay this way
for some time.

Then we forget.

Not from apathy, but survival
or compassion for ourselves

(though some can never forget, the loss so great)

And what is forgetting, after all
we overestimate the moral weight of our own feelings

longing for substance, weight
but still, it is a luxury.

Our faces will stay this way for some time
we forget
it happens again

(it happens to so many, every day)

We reckon with this world
confronted by its suffering
always someone

whose face is lined with grief
broken by sorrow
healed by love

even as it happens

and our faces

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