this “new” norm makes me retch

december 14, 2012
on the edge of my bed
i sort through potential christmas
presents. in his absence i debate the
necessity of both a spiderman mask
and web shooter cannisters.

he is only 5
surely he won’t notice
if one is missing.

i had never heard of
newtown, had no idea
it was an actual place.
holding the spiderman mask
my heart breaks.

i remember
iron man is actually
his favorite.

april 16, 2007
pacing my office floor
i can’t decide. not enough
time, these deadlines keep
looming. i shout her name.
her face is flush when she comes
to the door.

everyone is dead. well
not everyone. they are just
kids. kids going to class.

virginia tech was on my cousin’s
list of potentials. she could have…
hand at my throat, i land before
i realize i am falling. how could
this happen?

june 12, 2016
i stood by the fountain.
my face turned toward the sun.
it is a glorious hot day, i read
about fallen soldiers while waiting
for the tour to begin.

the alarm startles me. looking
i notice everyone staring at their
phones. suspicious i hold my at arms length.

i hit the ground hard. my
breath has stopped. i list names
in my head. where is michael? they
took a trip…i pray not there. please be
home. please be okay.

october 1, 2017
we are late. rushing our
natural state. do you have the
homework? a demand i shout
over my shoulder. he looks confused,
also normal, because i didn’t ask

the radio has gone quiet.
58 people are dead. more than
500 wounded.

that doesn’t make sense, he
tells me. how could that many
people die? are we at war, mom?
are we at war? i am quiet, an
unnatural occurrence and i can
feel his panic, still questioning,
are we at war?


walk and talk with my kiddo

my son is ten. yet he has been alive when 5 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history occurred. he remembers what happened at fort hood, at sandy hook, in orlando, san bernadino, and now las vegas. we’ve had more conversations about gun violence than we have had about the importance of being safe on the internet and stranger danger. every time we have to talk about it, or there’s a drill at his school, i feel sick to my stomach. every time. for reference: these are the ten deadliest mass shootings in mordern U.S. history.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. heyannis says:

    Gut-wrenching isn’t it. Wanda, your poem is heartfelt and brings up the question so many of us ask every day upon arising: “are we at war?” Beautifully told narrative poem.. Thank you. xoA

  2. Are we at war, Mom?–This poem feel our hurt

    1. Children often have a way speaking what we otherwise would not say.

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