Aftermath by Deb Grant
El Paso and Dayton
Shots fired again.
What am I supposed to do?
In the aftermath, I have gone through
A checklist of blame and
A thesaurus of emotions.
The culture. Mental Health. Guns. Hate. Fear. Young White Men. The parents of Youth White Men. Terrorists. Shock. White Supremacists. The phobias of a nation. Cell phones. Social Media. All Media. Too little God. Too much religion. The President. Grief. The Congress. Outrage. The NRA. Anger. The Gun manufacturers. The Russians. Fear. I said that didn’t I. Fear. Our inability to identify and face our fears. Our addiction to power. Guns are good that way. Power at our fingertips. We even have a finger named for it. Trigger finger. We all have one. We all have a trigger finger. There is no single solution so we remain paralyzed. Unable to move even a finger, but what if…what if we started looking just beyond our finger.
What if we began stewarding the space between the finger and the trigger?
The best place for my trigger finger was where I wanted to be this morning
On the coastline of Peaks Island
Inside the little girl who loved the water, loves it still
Splayed face down on the ground
Not unlike the shooter
Not with dead hands cuffed behind my back
But fingers free
To let them play in the tidal pools just beyond my face,
With creatures and the captivating coolness of a little ocean
Cupped between warm boulders for me to see the wonder of the world
Beneath my fingers.
The Other creatures. Periwinkles. Starfish. Anemone. Coral. Clams.
Utterly other lives than me and yet so alive.
Diffracted by the water and the light,
They are safe from my touch.
I can only play and wave with my fingers
Only revel and reverence
And peacefully participate.
Yes, perhaps, stewarding the space between our fingers and
The trigger is some place to begin
So says the child who still is discovering her own fingers.
Or we can return to the checklist again
And again until we go numb
And forget we ever had fingers
Or care about what they were
Reaching for or why.