Mortal Wounds

Once solitary, rare, remembered:
places marked with pushpins, four or five,
spaced wide, across a nation’s map.

But pins and places crowded closer,
north and south and west—
beltway drivers dropped by snipers,
a movie crowd machine-gunned,
six-year-olds slaughtered in a school,
marathon watchers maimed in Boston,
a nightclub made nightmare,
a concert ground turned killing field,
a congregation executed on its knees.

These days, mass murder earns smaller type,
the crawl beneath prettier pictures,
a column below the paper’s fold.
These days, though breaking news, it’s brief—
body count, gun type, a record set—
a record soon trumped by mayhem madder still.
These days, from coast to coast
a people numb, a country bleeding out.

                                                            Abbott Ikeler

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