Poetry

Thursday

Andrea Rinard

Alarm.

It’s always a decision.

Rise and ready to

step onto ground 

that could be blood-soaked.

Face the faces

that look for everything:

Comfort

Protection

Reassurance

Encouragement

Knowledge.

Try not to fear 

the hands 

you can’t see.

Try not to judge

the origin stories

you’ll never know.

Don’t react too soon.

But listen for the alarm

to run

         hide

                 fight.

You know it could come

at any moment.

You’ve seen the footage

of them fleeing

with arms up

of them sobbing

and looking for answers

they’ll never find.

Of the bodies and bodies and bodies.

“Be that hero,”

the media shows.

“Lay down your life,”

the parents who trust you

with all they have 

expect.

“Just quit,”

those who love you say.

Entering the classroom

on an unremarkable Thursday

may be the bravest thing

you will ever do.

*

Andrea Rinard has been a high school English teacher since 1993, and her midlife luxury is writing. She’s been published in such places as The Jellyfish Review, Spelk, and Lost Balloon, and her manuscript in progress won the Key West Literary Seminar’s Marianne Russo emerging writer award. 

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