August 5, 2012
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August 5, 2012

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

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.

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