Today I walked familiar streets,
stood where avenues cross,
where people meet.
I smiled at a lady with a toddler in hand,
bought a pretzel at the corner stand,
saw the shopkeeper sweeping in front of his store,
and another painting signs across his door.
Then I stopped to take a call—-
They said there was a shooting at a Texas outlet mall.
I saw family faces in my mind
who lived in Dallas and made their lives
with jobs and homes and puppies and friends.
I tried to reach them—-
left frantic messages,
told them I loved them,
begged them to call,
checked my phone every 5 seconds till I heard from them all.
There I stood at the crossroad—-
while traffic passed by.
I wondered why
that mall was chosen.
The count increased to damn near a dozen.
My head swirled—-
No! Don’t take my world!
Don’t take my street, my pretzels, my shops—-
This is all I’ve got!
Let me live with my head in the sand.
Don’t tell me about a broken land.
Let me sleep at night in a dream, curled.
For the love of God,
Don’t take my world!
About the Poem
Today, there was yet another shooting. This time, it was at a mall in Texas. I find it amazing how numbed we are becoming to this, with multiple events daily or weekly. It is amazing that in today’s society we live our quiet lives at the same moments that others thought they would see a normal day, but their lives were cut short or spun into terror.
About the Author
Dale Hensarling is an artist, author, and musician living in Phoenix, Arizona, where is teaches English. He lives a simple life with his puppies and a beatboxing parrot named “Pongo.” He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University.