Poetry: Summer Fruit

moist from chlorine-dipped playing
I cut watermelon into tiny squares
popping bites into my mouth
savoring summer’s near sweetness

the news finds me, wriggles into my
consciousness with painful realness
sucking the wind from my gut—
my Elaine teaches in Texas

she answers right away, but the 
relief lasts two seconds, two breaths
more than those babies have left
in their tiny 10-year-old bodies

awards ceremony in the morning
death in the afternoon, these mothers
had to identify their child’s bodies made
unrecognizable by AR-15’s brutality

“thoughts and prayers” elicit mother
bear anger, growls growing deeper
can’t protect, can’t stop the broken
not again, not again, not again

one tourniquet in “stop the bleed” kits
kindergarten active shooter drills
more guns less guns battle rages 
while kids remain “sitting ducks”

mental health month means colored
ribbons tied on campus trees as a boy
almost my son’s age finds his only 
hope in the power of a too-lethal gun

four classmates of my daughter 
are hospitalized for mental health 
while we double down on upping 
test scores and blocking abortion

I shook the hands of a Parkland teen
begging Washington D.C. to take action
four years ago, today I wish I could hug 
him and tell him all his work still mattered

evil, corrupt, greedy, selfish, blind—hope feels
minuscule scrolling long list of mass shootings
while saying the same things over and over
wondering what words can even do

sullied by fear I can’t ignore, I considered
keeping my kids close today, locked within 
my arms to sob into their perfect shoulders
keenly aware of America’s vast brokenness

it’s spirit day at my daughter’s school
water fights, popsicles, last-minute gleeful 
moments before goodbyes leak into 
summer sunshine, summer fruit

I don’t know what else to do but sob
and bare witness as mothers mourn
and greedy splintered politics remain
–sour watermelon promises

Author’s note: If you’ve come here to debate me, I will delete your comment.


Related posts

77 thoughts on “Poetry: Summer Fruit

  1. Powerfully and emotionally penned Bridgette .. I can feel the watermelon juices sticking in my throat froat from down here in Geelong …. I’m afraid the gun loby appears to a powerful and greedy ‘machine’, and money and political votes, seem to be more important than the lives of children …

    We Are Not Worthy, Nor Grand

     
    The Time-travellers have been and gone
    Transcending the stars and beyond
    Leaving us The message carved in stone
    Obvious warnings, pointing the bone
    “You are not worthy, nor grand
    to care for Mother Earth’s beautiful land”
    Decrying our humankind’s faults
    Locking our world’s children in vaults
    Poisoning our plants, rivers, and seas
    Contaminating the air we breathe
    Burning our forests
    Vehicle fumes
    Nuclear bombs
    Rulers greed
    Before we even feed
    Our fellow-man
    Slaughter upon slaughter
    Like we’re lambs
    Guns and bullets
    Millions for every bloody stand
    Like seeds in our hands
    Not giving life, only death and sand
    We are not worthy, nor grand
    It’s time, to make a stand
    Who’s going to lead our band

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More of my protest poems from over the years ..

    We Are Not The Children, We Are The Adults

    Blind And Unkind

    What are you leaders fighting for
    What happens when all the trees are gone
    What do your empty heads actually see
    Do you have sack-clothes covering your eyes
    Do you have a finger stuck in your noses
    Do you know the smell of life or death
    Where’s your collective greed going to
    Where’s your silent mouths and ears
    Where’s the air we breathe
    What are you world rulers doing to our land
    What happens when the oceans are poison
    What do you egotists sip on
    Why are you deaf dumb and blind
    Why are you arrogant and unkind
    Why are you ignoring the future of mankind
    We Are Not Worthy Nor Grand ……

    The Time-travelers have been and gone
    Transcending the stars and beyond
    Leaving us the message carved in stone
    Obvious warnings, pointing the bone
    “You are not worthy, nor grand
    to care for Mother Earth’s beautiful land”
    Decrying our humankinds faults
    Locking our world’s children in vaults
    Poisoning our plants, rivers, and seas
    Contaminating the air we breathe
    Burning our forests
    Vehicle fumes
    Nuclear bombs
    Rulers’ greed
    Before we even feed
    Our fellowman
    Slaughter upon slaughter
    Like we’re lambs
    Guns and bullets
    Millions for every bloody stand
    Like seeds in our hands
    Not giving life, only death and sand
    We are not worthy, nor grand
    It’s time, to make a stand
    Who’s going to lead our band

    For the innocent children. “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela.

    When Do They Play

    Our emotions are boiling on high
    Lowly governments are hiding like spies
    When do the children play
    Where do their Moms and Dads stay
    Why should we have to pray
    This is not our humane way
    Promised tomorrows should be theirs today
    Please, when do the children play

    Quote #2, “Together We Can Help”

    “Fellow Writers, We Have The Power, We Have A Voice, We Have A Pen, Collectively, We’re Able To Help, Help The Children Of The World, Stop Them Crying For Help.”

    Together We Can Help

    It’s Time
    Time to have a say
    Voice your feelings
    Tell your stories
    Use your pen
    Speak from your soul
    Talk about their little feet
    Feel their mammas heartbeat
    Give your all
    Walk tall
    We need to help
    Children is my prompt
    Let’s do the stomp
    It’s your call
    One and all
    Don’t let the children crawl
    Save them before they fall
    Let Us Not Be Silent
    Let Us Not Be Silent

    Let us not turn a blind eye
    Clear the dark clouds from our sky
    Extract our heads from the sand
    Join our national brass band
    Blow loudly on your trumpets
    Let us stop being pawns and puppets
    We’re not the sheep of their lands
    We can be the blanket for our lambs
    A collective sheet, protective and grand

    Let us not be silent and bland
    Clear the stage, make a stand
    The worlds suffering children need us
    Before they’re herded onto the bus
    Like lambs to the slaughter
    Imagine, our sons and daughters
    Laying on concrete, alone and caged
    Crying, weeping, could it be our ice-age
    We’re distraught and outraged
    Compassion, love, is paramount on centre-stage

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you start and end with the watermelon, but on such a different note. The words are so heartbreaking, but, of course, the world we live in is heartbreaking, as we see far too often. I found myself crying today, too; those poor little kids look like my second grader.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s incomprehensible this keeps happening. I remember marching after Parkland with my kids and truly believing things would change…but it hasn’t. The pictures of their sweet faces…we have to do better.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s a wonderful and a heartfelt tribute to the victims of the shootout. My heart goes out to the family of the deceased and those have been injured.I pray to God for giving them strength to recover from this trauma. 🙏🙏🙏

    Like

  5. Oh, Bridgette, such a poignant poem. How you wove all of that into spirit day, and reproductive rights, and mental health, and watermelon. It is stunning how you made all this work together. And it is all related. I spent all day yesterday going over and over these issues (except the watermelon!) and didn’t have words. You eloquently gave me language for it and I thank you for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was a tough day indeed. I had a long list of things to do, but all I could manage was those words written through tears of heartbreak and anger. When I matched with Parkland I hoped the death of those children would end the gun debate, the reality it hasn’t makes me feel equal parts furious and hopeless. We simply have to stop this…somehow.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. The contrast between the watermelon and the school shooting is impressive. It’s right on the spot what is happening in the US. Gun violence is a major problem. Your message is important. Keep writing!

    Like

  7. The incident you’ve decribed here is truly touching and real as it was. Sorry to those parents who lost their beloved kids. Indeed, mental health should be considered with create caution in every society. Oh, too sad the sort of things that happen in our society, and no one is livid, not even our leaders with their empty promises bat an eyelash. Too sad and emotional.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel your pain, angst, the worry. Creatives have outlets—like writing! So many don’t have healthy, safe outlets. Mental ill-health is demonized and the end results lie at the end of rifles with emptied barrels. Let’s keep our voices active in the spaces we occupy. Ripples make waves.

    By the way, thanks for the “follow”.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It makes me wonder what would happen if, heaven forbid, just one senator would lose just one child to this hideous violence. What has happened to bring us to this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Karima. It’s so hard to think about. I’ve still been teary lately thinking about those families and listening to the coverage of their testimonies before the House. We have to stop this.

      Like

  10. How any person (in political position) can continue to watch these horrors play out and not take all the steps required to stop it is beyond me. Greed and politics chosen over the innocent lives lost makes no sense. Thanks for your poignant poem Bridgette. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s