I don’t usually post or write poems in response to current events, political issues, etc. It’s just not me. But last week, I wanted to write a poem using a random word from a Twitter or Facebook friend. I had decided to write a poem that included an apple, somehow (probably because I am in the process of tagging all my poems, and I had just read an old one about apples). So I asked on my FB Page and on Twitter for one word that does NOT seem to describe an apple. @RenKirchner gave me bitter, and I decided to go with that. I thought about when an apple might be bitter, and Snow White and Adam and Eve came to mind. But then the victims of the Charleston shooting were in my thoughts, and my sorrow came out in this poem instead.
On a personal note, years ago I wrote some short pieces for the Star Tribune where I would go to a different church each week and write about it for the paper. One week, my then-10-year-old daughter Maddie and I went to a local AME service. We were the only white people in the church, and we are very white! When they asked visitors to stand, all heads swiveled toward us, with big smiles. It was a really different church experience, but I remember how welcomed we were at that service, though we were total strangers and totally different–on the surface.
So reading about the shooting (and I haven’t read much about it because I just can’t), I pictured this guy going in there and being welcomed into the prayer session and…well, that’s it. I just can’t wrap my heart around it.