“None of This Had to Happen- Channeling Jane Hirschfield”

None of this had to happen. Not the argument. Not the terrible timing. Not lateness. Not the alarm that wasn’t set and not the too-late television.

The Netflix service might have been rom-com instead of drama. The food delivery guy might have gone to the wrong door. The children might not have been cranky. The earworm might have turned.

The commuter and the tourist might have walked past each other with no eye contact and never noticed that they wore the same scarf. The concierge might have been involved with a lost package, and the mailbox might have been stuck.

I might have slipped on the steps. You might have been in a mood of lasting gloom. Your remission might have gone way past the prognosis. You might have been stronger. The hope might have been resurrected.

If the grief were not invisible and weightless, we might not surrender to regrets of what we can’t control. In another place, a veteran on vacation might pull a victim from the dance floor. The drag queen might stomp the murderer with her stiletto heels.

From that venue. They pull one man, another, and then a woman. They are alive and will survive. Not so five of their comrades.

This did not have to happen. No, none of this had to happen.

About the Poem

On Nov 20, 2022, a young man entered a gay nightclub and opened fire. He killed 5 people who were dancing. The patron who tackled a gunman inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday night prevented a deadly shooting from being far worse, the club’s owners said on Sunday.

“He saved dozens and dozens of lives,” one of the owners of Club Q, Matthew Haynes, said at a vigil. “Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him.”

About the Author

Lynne Kemen lives in Upstate New York. Her chapbook, More Than a Handful was published in 2020. Her work is anthologized in Seeing Things (2020) and several others. She is published in Silver Birch Press, The Ravens Perch, Fresh Words Magazine, Spillwords, Topical Poetry, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, and Blue Mountain Review. Lynne stands on the Board of Bright Hill Press. She is an Editor for the Blue Mountain Review and a lifetime member of The Southern Collective Experience. Her book of poetry will be published in 2023 by SCE.

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