When I heard about the shooting, I was in the rented room where I stay when I teach, two hours from home. Couldn’t hold it together in that rental with all that would come down the pike, remembering my cousin shot and killed by my uncle when I was four years old. Couldn’t hold it together in that Airbnb, eating off paper plates, the woods next door empty and full as the manhunt widened and kept going.
New snow will fall sometime this winter, cover the dead.
Eat from paper plates, drink from Styrofoam cups, in the rented room where you make of your knees a table, porch light on the blink. When ghosts come back it’s never clean or complete. Fragmented pieces of a game we didn’t choose.
This game our country plays, keeping guns like toys.
Drove the hours home during the manhunt, skirting the edges of their search for the shooter. Time is a game we all play badly, slipping back and forth.
He shot her, his child. Then himself. Like torn paper or ashes, new snow will sift down here, eventually. It snowed in Georgia back then. It doesn’t snow there now. Afterwards, the grownups hid every photograph of her, so us children would forget. We did not forget her. This is a long game.
They said aunt married badly. They gave us some cards and told us to play.
Everyone says the Lewiston shooter was unwell, as if that were the only problem. Snow will fall on the buried and the living. I remember her burial in the way of torn snow. No game plays across this abyss. Pretending snow will cover it.
Put away the guns. Time isn’t strong enough.
Image at top: Ed Kenney, Snow Squall, photo.