Helpless in the Face
of technology, I am competent still
at a number of things,
but this doesn’t matter. It’s so unreal,
the shooting, the silence
as she sat up against the wall, a bullet
gone clean through her brain.
How can anyone grow up
thinking it’s an option to kill innocent
people, a child, passersby?
We all know the answer/s,
the disconnect and its distinct click
so like the snap of a mousetrap.
It gets harder and harder to accept
the death of small animals
in my own house, or insects, even as five
thousand or five hundred birds
fall from the sky.
But in one movie, death is easy.
In another, a police officer cannot face
the fact of his bullet,
his own gun following perfect orders.
The dead man was a criminal. He did it,
but the officer is helpless
forever after. Likewise, war.
We cannot make sense of our own times.
There are many kinds of people.
Some of them kill, some cannot.
Some believe in, some mock the apocalypse.
Some see it happening inside
everyone, at some time or another.
My husband takes the mouse out
into the shining snow. My son goes
back to college today. Everything shows
on me. I am helpless
in the face.
Kathleen Kirk,January 9, 2011
Hand painting by Tony Rio