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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

the broken egg


See a picture of a crying infant in rags, with tears on their tiny red face and try to feel nothing. Describe the weapons used, report what kind of gas it was breathing. Condemnations come quickly, without hesitation. Could this be a picture from a few years ago? There is no way of knowing. Could this child have died somewhere else? There is no answer to that question. There is just the news, and faith in a system. I find it maddening, to be caught questioning anything in such moments but the answers are not easy ones. We have all been fooled, over and again. I say none of this to suggest there was no attack. I say all of this because I do not trust much of anything these days. If there is a cracked egg in the box, it feels about he same as reading the news. Something is always broken, hidden, then found much later, far after the emotions have welled up, far after nights spent going to sleep imagining the horror, the sound of people dying, the smell of poison, the sense of things slipping  away into a black nothing. That dream is inescapable.

An explosion, another truck driving into crowds of people, another explosion, another city, another city, and one more city. Trains carrying bombs, men carrying bombs. The wheel turns and turns around the same center, the same unflinching eye. Maybe I am just wishing for once it is a lie, a careful fabrication. And then I understand that a lie like this is worse than the truth.

I know that E got a bad grade last week in math, and we are working to fix it. I know that the outdoor market has returned, and a lady there with missing teeth will bring some spinach for us next week. I know that the neighbors are still renovating, the buzz and rumble of drills does not cease. I know there are little green dots at the ends of branches and that the birds are flipping around a gray sky as they sing.

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