Grief is like a punch in the stomach.
It glazes us so that driving a car
or crossing a parking lot to buy
tomatoes for dinner is dangerous.
I forgot to grab the Redbox.
Memories replay in the search
for a previously insignificant detail,
some sure sign indicating, warning, that
today’s events would unfold as they did.
Finding none, the brain returns
to the scene of the crime: third-floor
parking deck, twelve noon, Friday.
In this case, alone among all other
breaking news stories, the brain
can fill in the exact face, the exact
stature and build of the man
who holds up the gun and fires.
He used to wear white socks
with his Adidas flip flops. He spoke
softly and gently, loved his sisters.
Then, the questions: did he fool us all?
Killers don’t drive Prisuses. Why did
he wear slacks and a shirt and tie?
He hardly fits the bill for a killer.
Are they sure it was him? Then,
to the John Grisham novel where
one side effect of a bad drug
was the intense desire to kill.
Surely, this is the only way…
There’s nothing to do now
except to cook the shock and disbelief
into the fajitas, then brace for the moment
of realization in the middle of the night
or first thing in the morning:
it really wasn’t a bad dream.