A boy gets shot, doesn’t even make the news.
That’s how bad things are. He didn’t die, so
no one needs to know except those who know,
those who watched the men in blue, bemused
and on their knees, brushing detail from the street,
those who saw the yellow bands of tape, stretched
from the wrought iron fence beside the church
to the public school gate. Church and State meet
as police set metal moons to orbit
the two square yards between cars where the boy
fell. They work in silence. The only noise
the click of cameras, taking pictures
no one sees. Today, I put some tinned fish
and crackers into a bag, drove to the beach
with my dog who knows nothing of guns,
who ran and ran until all four feet left
the ground. That flight could be so easy
made me laugh, grateful for the earth
the sea the sky the sun the speed the blue.
Now I’m home, drinking mint tea with honey,
listening to the radio: homeland security strategy
death threat espionage war guns battle theft.
My dog is deep asleep, his head on my feet,
caught up no doubt in grey seabirds, white flash
up and up and up, blinking into all that blue
as he madly charges into the sky, legs folded
to his belly, resting on air, but wingless, he falls
to earth and barks. We saw elk, he and I,
babies, brand-new, grazing near the lighthouse.
We sat inside the car, its motor growling
but they didn’t sprint long-legged up the slope.
They shifted aside, looked with tender eyes,
stepped before us with gracious dignity.
Fearless. No men with guns. No enemies.
Down below the cliffs, sea lions on the beach
just up from the sea. One still slicky wet, was singing.