I am stalwart as tradition.
But that day,
Skeptical of safety,
They saw me choke.
Brooklyn to Newtown, 85 miles.
For us, not diversion, not media amusement.
Indeed near enough that the
Imagined cacophony of
Shots and shouts seemed more
Audible than the radio news.
How many synonyms for fear can we list, class?
Every face a thesaurus of trepidation.
Stories flurried, of an irascible man,
Of innocence reaped like macheted melons.
What could we do?
In earnest, with tenderness,
We cut hundreds of
Paper snowflakes in a
Multitude of aesthetics,
Creating as if to breathe
Life into them.
Boxed them and mailed them,
Like kachinas of comfort sent
Through the postal service.
Pathetic cosmetics for what we
We walk these blocks – look into the consciences of living rooms.
Everything feels warm.
Mulled cider and streetlight stars; we keep walking, hushed.
The leaves are dying. You smell like soap.
I hum an old jazz standard.
(Autumn in New York brings the promise of new love.)
Country after country on Broadway –
garlic, sesame, butter, curry, olives, vinegar, pepper, apples,
then a scent of coffee and baking.
A church glows –
a grey woman in a grey coat, a film noir extra,
caresses the flyers as she would a child’s hair.
The street swirls.
How can I love you,
when downtown floodlights chill the night, tear through autumn,
drown the graves of thousands?
Rachel Rear is a teacher, writer, actor, and sometime aerialist living in Brooklyn, New York. She completed her undergraduate studies at Rutgers University, her MA at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and her MFA at The New School. She teaches 8th grade and has also taught high school and college. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times’ LA Affairs section, in the Washington Post’s Solo-ish section, and in Off The Coast Poetry Journal. She is working on her first book. She can be found on Twitter @RaeRear.