Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the bubble

I was driving First Born Son home from school on Monday and we had a conversation about local repercussions from the horrific massacre that occurred on Friday in Newtown, CT.

When the world darkens
and the sharp objects of tragedy, fear and gut wrenching woe
pierce the collective human spirit, 
can I encase you in a bubble?
Or carry you by the scruff to my bear's den
and stow you away until you are old enough, wise enough
with claws sharp enough
to fend for yourself?

Probably not
You protest attempts to shelter and safeguard
You despair with the rest of us 
but you question
What has really changed aside from a deeper well of sadness?
You recall the night we were driving in a dicey neighborhood
and heard the unmistakable pop
and recoiled at the lightning flash
of gunfire
panicking to turn our car
in the other direction
We weren't in our neighborhood
but we were near your school
you knew it was close enough
it was real
it was always a possibility 

When your Superintendent
orders the mandatory waving of the security wand
over each and every high school student 
entering a Buffalo Public School building
You tell me how even the most brilliant and balanced junior in your class
carries a knife to school
That he threw the knife in the bushes when he heard of the security wands
and fretted all day about reaching the end of the day
when he may not be able to find it
and what he might encounter on the way home

You show me once again that your empathy
has stretched achingly wide
beyond a tragic event that afflicted a nation
you acknowledge your fellow students
who live with the burden of  fear daily
because their neighborhoods 
more unstable than your own
are always shrouded 
in dark shadows
where the threat of violence looms over them 
on a bus ride home from school
a walk to the corner store
across the threshold of their homes

You tell me that to beef up security in our schools
as an answer to the question
How do we prevent what happened in Newtown from ever happening again?
seems as futile as trying to buttress Earth
to prevent an act of nature from inflicting harm and damage
The ideas of safety and security are a thin and fragile veil- 
so too are the membranes of a bubble
I realize that you are old enough, wise enough
with claws sharp enough
But, I will always feel like I am throwing you to the wolves 
each day you walk out that door

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