Modern Buffalo

the shooter was mapping out the aisles for weeks
too many buffaloes
we watch how they run
on the hooves of previous days, last
week my friend’s daughter graduated from Syracuse
Saturday night bar hopping was not just about drunk

a shooter made a guest appearance
maybe had a drink at the bar

and Sandy Hook – we lived nearby
I cannot forget the gunman’s mother possibly
her death was an easier outcome
since she had fed firearms
to her mentally disturbed son

after all
Sandy Hook was about much more than just a mother and
the childhood she wished for her child

I baked one cake for boys, one for girls
left them out near the balloons and stuffed dolls lining the roads
as grave substitutes
awash in regret

the right distance from hate

About the Poem

I moderated a talk last night on anxiety and have been thinking about Sandy Hook – this year coming up on 10 years since. This morning I read a New York Times article and am listening to MSNBC’s discussion about hate crime, violence, Sandy Hook, and the recent shooting in Buffalo.

About the Author

Vanessa H. Smith has lived and worked in India, Nepal, England, and the US. She is a writer, painter, and filmmaker and has been working since she was 12 years old. Her written work has been published in Chronogram, Silent Auctions Magazine, Poetry Apocalypse, and the Quarantine Diaries. She has been in 25 group exhibits around the world and her film work has been meaningful and awarded. To see more of her work, please visit For Smith, it all comes down to these things: words, chaos, nature, effort, truth, attitude, health, and whatever can be beautiful or observed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *