By Phyllis Meshulam

A morning dawns, barely, with fringes of rain along
the well-worn path to the daily paper.
She is regulated by her body’s clock, still on Eastern time,
as Melissa listens to the drops dribble and splat.
Being home from her trip,
it’s necessary to re-enter the daily routine,
to plan her lessons,
take out the trash. She finds
security in these habits. But the news announces another
shooting of innocents by a madman with
an assault rifle. “How does this make us
free?” she wonders. It leaves her
in a state of bewilderment.
The paper also mentions
a gun-rights-advocating family in Nevada, still grieving at the bedside
of their wife/mother/sister, victim
of the Vegas concert shooting where
58 people were killed, 489 wounded. Like Rosemarie who struggles
to keep food down,
keep family morale up,
and for whom anti-anxiety drugs are now an essential nutrient.
They bear it by crying in each other’s
arms, remembering the fun-lover their matriarch was,
so that person shall
not perish from this earth. They come to realize that her right
to be intact has been
infringed by the blast effect of high-speed bullets and that this kind of trespass
+++++must somehow be curtailed. Melissa nods and sobs.


About the Author

Phyllis Meshulam, MFA Vermont College, is the author of the poetry book, Land of My Father’s War, as well as four chapbooks. She teaches with California Poets in the Schools and coordinates Poetry Out Loud For CalPoets’ fiftieth anniversary, she edited Poetry Crossing, a joyful collection of lessons and poems.

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