Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies–
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Friday morning on 84, driving
New Jersey to Connecticut
to babysit our grandchildren for a week,
you point to an exit sign:
“Hey—there’s another Sandy Hook!”
and I remember taking our young sons
on outings to the Jersey Shore.
We arrive an hour later to the news on TV:
twenty first-grade children,
six adults shot and killed
in Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Our grandchildren move closer.
The monsignor at Saint Rose of Lima Church,
one of the first clergy on the scene,
says six or seven were parishioners.
“One was going to be an angel
in our Christmas pageant next week.”
In Saturday’s paper: the killer, as a boy,
had attended seventh grade
in Saint Rose of Lima School;
used his mother’s registered guns;
she, the first victim, shot repeatedly in the face.
Her mother, in Florida, unable to make
a statement to the press.
Below the high school podium bearing
the presidential seal for his Sunday visit,
twenty-six small, white, lit candles.
Along roadsides, cutout angels
begin to appear.
Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012
About the author:
Wanda S. Praisner, a recipient of fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Dodge Foundation, P’town Fine Arts Center and VCCA, won the Egan Award, Princemere Prize, Kudzu Award, First Prize in Poetry at the College of NJ Writers’ Conference, and the 2017 NJ Poets Prize. She has appeared in Atlanta Review, Lullwater Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her latest book is Natirar (Kelsay Books, 2017). She is a resident poet for the State.