On August 5th, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Wade killed six members of the temple before police were able to respond. In the gun battle that followed, Wade injured an officer before fatally shooting himself in the head.
There’s a picture of me Traci took on the rocks in Whitefish Bay.
It looks like I’m walking on the ivory water past the darkest part of the corona
settling on the gnash of waves.
The waves are muted and methodical like a child pushing a prayer
from his breath to his palm.
I set the picture down.
Since the groundskeepersreaped the field north of town,
I hear a din of cicadas, their thrum a subtle crack
in the silence my parents keep.My job is to listen to the insects, to the gunfire [End Page 15]
from the alley where boys
stipple Sprite bottles.
Stretchers pass on the news.
One policeman stops, takes off his helmet,
the other turns.
In the photo it looks like I want to step over the horizon with its last light
unfolding. But I would miss the babble of water, the yips of my dog racing across a field.
I don’t know.
Do I want the strength to accept what Job had to, what God gives back— the new wife’s soft hands, the children listening for the trample of their father’s herd?
At night, they collect the lives of insects in jars.
They spread their bodies on the meadow,
laying their ears to the dirt. [End Page 16]
Kyle McCord is the author of four books of poetry including You Are Indeed an Elk, But This is Not the Forest You Were Born to Graze (Gold Wake, 2015). He has work featured in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, and TriQuarterly.