In a letter to Jane Humphrey in 1852, Emily Dickinson cries, “Bye and bye we’ll all be gone, Jennie, does it seem as if we would?”
News of nineteen young firefighters from a hot shot team dead in an Arizona wildfire—some beneath their fire shields as they’d been taught—some had broken for cover they never reached.
Remembering this morning Newton and the Slaughter of the Innocents. Remembering this morning the Boston Bombing and the Slaughter of the Innocents.
Then all the memories slide into place ordered by a date: 911 (“we will never forget”)
or a place name: Columbine, Thurston, Clackamas Mall (that we may not forget the one in the many)
or a name: Kip Kinkel, Dylan Klebold, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev,
and all the names are the names of young men (that we may fear them) (that we may pity their mothers and their sisters)
more or less trapped at home. In the morning
windows open to what scraps of cool air
are left from the night. Then
Someone turns up the furnace,
and we seal ourselves inside.
Inland, cooking in this green
Willamette Valley, we know
the sea is not far away, yet
somewhere It Is Written that we
must stay here, and endure.
Why does the human mind
long for the world of dream?
Tell me a story, a new story, an old story, any story, a story in which I am young again and as brave as I am beautiful. A story from the beginning of time…