—after the massacre
When I say ode, I mean shovel. When I say shovel, I mean the horror movie heroine who opens the door of the creaking shack. When I say dead, I mean hungry. When I say hungry, I mean the student whose text alert is the sound of a pistol cocking. When I say clock tower, I mean the problem of evil—to wit, a man in a suit who says immigrants but means slaves, a man in a suit who says choice but means your children will barely know how to read, a man in a suit who says compassion and means let the elderly shut-ins starve. When I tell you about three scars on my body, I mean there are more scars than I can count. When I count, I mean that one calamity should suffice. I can never say enough but when I say enough, I mean we don’t believe water is wet until we’re drowning. So when I say ode, I mean its opposite. When I say hope, I’m asking how a poem can hope to shame a man pressing a torch into a pile of books in the town square.
To hear Nick Lantz read “Ode to the Dead of Bowling Green,” please click here:
To hear Nick Lantz read “Ode to the Dead of Bowling Green” and his interview with NPR’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, please click here: