America: the safest place to be?

Cozied into my recliner–
the one with the prayer shawl
to lean into, wrap around shoulders,
when things get too tragic too often.

I turn on the 5:30 news
as a too-familiar scene
flashes on screen–
elementary school
surrounded by police cars,
uniformed people.

No audio or caption
needed to convey the story.

Thoughts take hold,
won’t let go.
Tears start and I cry…
…my daughters who teach
…my grandchildren in schools.
It’s all right Mom/Grandma
we’ve practiced the drill.
We’ve got this covered.
We’ll be safe.

And sometimes they’re right,
the bomb threat lockdown
at my granddaughter’s school
covered by all TV channels
before she could call
her desperate parents:
I’m okay, fine, we’re locked in
the bathroom, no windows.
When all is clear, we can
go home. Can you please
come get me? Please…

I pull my shawl around me.

About the Poem

I have daughters who teach elementary school and grandchildren who attend public schools. My own fear for their safety is ever-present.

About the Author

Joanne Kennedy Frazer is a retired peace and justice director and educator for faith-based organizations. She writes on issues of justice, the natural world, and spirituality. Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies, journals, ezines and magazines. Five of her poems were placed into a song cycle, titled Resistance, by composer Steven Luksan, and performed in Seattle and Durham. Her chapbook, Being Kin, was published in 2019. Home is Durham, NC.

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