It took opening night and opening day. Took opening.
Took teachers from kids from streets. Your job, your plan.
Took your best friend. Took your first and last breath of spring.
It took your bar, your movies. Your mom. Your man.
We’re in it together, it said, then took together. Took you down
and pressed your life out, shot you as you ran and in your bed.
Split your spine right through your kids’ eyes. Stalked into town
with a nasty tattoo and an AR-15, locked and loaded.
It spun the Gulf. Seared the West. Took trees old as gods.
Took medics, millennials, mailboxes, voting booths,
and then took Chadwick B. and RBG. Switched out the odds
on logic or love. Worked over the sorry truth
and sold it cheap. Taught your preacher not to pray.
The bastard blew your mind. Took your breath away.
Gail Griffin is the author of four books of nonfiction, most recently Grief’s Country: A Memoir in Pieces, named a Michigan Notable Book, and “The Events of October:” Murder-Suicide on a Small Campus. Her essays, poems, and flash nonfiction have appeared widely and been honored in publications including Southern Review, Fourth Genre, Missouri Review, and New Ohio Review. A native of Detroit, she spent a long career teaching literature, writing, and women’s studies at Kalamazoo College, where she won awards for both teaching and creative/scholarly work. She is at work on a collection of personal essays on confronting whiteness; she is also digging through a stack of paper to see if a poetry collection is hiding there. From her vantage point in southwestern Michigan, she studies, and mourns, the cracking open of America and dreams of her next trip to the shore of a Great Lake.
- Email: Gail.firstname.lastname@example.org
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