Shards of Glass
Deadening silence follows the blast,
Recalling memories of violence past.
Beirut bombings, Trade Center broken,
Oklahoma City, how rudely awoken.
Gray moss rubble dances on steel,
Pleading children for mothers appeal.
Skeleton stands with skin so shed,
In these ruins, how many dead?
How can it be, and why was it here?
Where are friends, loved-ones so dear?
All around people try to grasp,
Lives reflected in shards of glass.
On April 19, 1995, I was fulfilling my obligations as a student teacher in a history class in a Norman middle school. My mentor was out that day, attending a meeting in Oklahoma City. This particular hour was the AP History class and, for this day, I was not scheduled to teach. As the students settled in, the relaxed mood of the morning shifted dramatically. A few students were called out of the classroom as we gathered around a television that had been brought in to show a film to the class. After checking with the appropriate administrators, we turned on the news and watched those early moments of coverage.
My memory for the details are not as clear as they once were. I know that at least one student, possibly two, lost loved ones that day. It would not be long before I began to recognize other people I knew shedding tears of grief during the coverage. At the time, it was the worst possible way I could imagine being taught how to deal with tragedy in an educational setting.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned on Facebook that I was thinking of sharing some of the poetry I used to write prolifically along with a related photograph. As I searched back for a collection of poems I put together during another difficult time in my life, I came across this piece, written while the emotions were still raw.