The Victim Was Never Publicly Identified

How do you even keep track?

There’s just too many.

Too many for one city, one neighborhood, one street, one home.

Smiling faces splashed across screens, melded with all the others crowding in: mourners, observers, wanderers, killers, healers, dancers.

Was that the reverend? Was that the father? Was that the murderer? Or the victim?

Lost among flashing bulbs, momentary fascination, and then pushed away – forced forgetting or just the next grocery list.

Fading into the communal background of the everyday, another painful tone in the hum of the ongoing.

It’s easy to ignore from afar – even if your supposed inviolability is threatened from just outside your front door.

Well, it wasn’t me.

I got this.

It’s fine.

Thinking hubris will somehow conquer vulnerability. Muscling the press of faces out.

They are not mine.

I don’t know why she had that scar on her ankle.

Why he had that tattoo on his wrist.

Why they always cocked their heads opposite ways in photos together.

None of this is my pain.

Besides, I cannot hold it.

I should not be expected to hold it.

Well, what do I do with it?

Why is it mine?

How are they mine?

…who are they again?

***

The Art of the Everyday: January 14 – Ripped from the headlines: Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article. [My reflections on community violence, inspired by the above video, “St Roch Blues,” my time living in New Orleans, Jamaica Plain Boston, and just in this torn world of ours]

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