Eight Days after the School Shooting

It's called mortality salience.
I know, I study this stuff.
It's anxiety tightening around my eyes
as I see campus for the first time since,
looking into eyes bloodshot in exhausted faces,
tears at their corners,
bodies bleeding in our fretful sleep.

I scan the paper and see we are yesterday's news,
reminder that students shot dead in classrooms are everyday sights.

Mortality salience.
I scan the landscape for last week's memorial flowers on the schoolhouse steps
but the steps are bare.
The ghostly memory of last week's lit white candles lingers;
the classroom building itself,  a visual monument to death.

Everywhere I look, a reminder.
These eyes remember what they didn't see.

Mortality salience.
The picture in the back of my eyeballs haunts me.

Unexpectedly traveling too close to the edge,
and looking down.

© Christine S. Davis, 2019


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