Bullet

It seems fitting to share this poem today, 9 years after Newtown. This is based off of an experience I had while student teaching the year that Newtown occurred.

Bullet

“Miss, would you take a bullet for us?” young Anthony asked,
the day after the Newtown shooting.
“It’s my job to protect you,” I responded,
a response that satisfied them all.


I was a student teacher; naïve and optimistic.

Though I grew both as a person and as a teacher,

Anthony’s question never left my mind.

Would I?

Years later, and, somewhere,

Anthony is now a man.

I wonder if he remembers asking
the question all of America now asks.

“Miss, would you take a bullet for us?”
rings with every lockdown drill, every active shooter in-service,
every locked classroom door,
every bullet-proof clipboard that is purchased.

It used to be so simple, to protect our students.

Draw the blinds. Lock the door. Hide by the teacher’s desk.

Now, as I kiss my own children and my wife goodnight, I wonder:

Why do we ask our teachers to take bullets for them?

To the unborn

This poem was written in gratitude for our embryos from our IVF journey. On this Thanksgiving Day, I’m particularly grateful for the wishes that came true in our journey to become moms. Here’s a Thanksgiving photo of two of our embryos…

Our grown embryos, Lena and Landon, this Thanksgiving 2021.

To the unborn

We began at our thirty-eight;

Then merely down to thirty-three.                 

A few more left the cold petri
dish; gone, but not forgotten, dreams.            

Trepidation and more waiting,

Then more loss of future living.                    

Down to twenty-two embryos;

numbers faltered to seventeen.

You mattered more than life itself;

To us and scientifically.

You were our sweet dreams, one by one–

We listened, waited, and loved thee.

So then a whirlwind of life,

And two chances—dreams– made to breathe.

We mourn the losses we never had–

our embryos we got to dream.

La Mort de la Lumière

I’ll be sharing excerpts from Revisions of Youth and the stories behind them. This first poem was written after the death of a friend by suicide.

La Mort de la Lumière

At night I feel the warmth of your fire in my fingers;
the light flickers as golden embers slowly fall.
To my heart I hold you close–
an evanescent moment of serenity–
as the cold, bitter wind blows fiercely
and threatens to make you disappear.

I realize your time is fleeting, and your glow will disappear,
yet I expect you to stay ‘til the last of the wax drips onto my fingers.
When you first came to be, you were held fiercely–
protection for a single flame destined to fall.
Until then, I embrace your serenity
and let your beauty stay close.

I wrap my hands around you, holding you close,
not knowing that you are fighting to disappear,
not knowing that you have a plan to find serenity,
and simply uninformed that you are slipping out of my fingers.
I continue to hold you, trying to protect you from the fall
as you continue to fight time fiercely.

Your flames begin to burn me fiercely–
a sign that the end is close–
but I do not know you are about to fall.
I do not know your light will disappear,
and I do not know you are escaping my fingers.
In this moment, I find only your warmth and serenity.

I sit in the shadows, your glow creating my serenity
as the night winds begin to hit me fiercely
and I start to feel tremors in my fingers
as I fight to hold your warmth close.
You fight back, wanting to disappear
and already beginning to fall.

I wail as I realize you have started to fall,
and an eerie brightness confirms your serenity
as you lose the last of your oxygen and disappear.
I bawl and weep, sobbing fiercely
as the existence of your light comes to a close
and I learn I will never again feel your flames in my fingers.

Once you disappear, I slowly begin to fall.
My fingers search for a sign of serenity,
but with the loss of your light, I fiercely cry. Your time has come to a close.