Somewhere between the grocery store and gunfire, injustice, news of another mother who must bury her son. I keep my own sons in perspective; gather their temporary small, humor, and smiles in my pocket. I stand in the checkout line, buying a half-gallon of milk, thinking about wounds. What does it matter if we run out of milk? What do we tell the mother who runs out of time?
Near the register, the few of us wait patient. The headlines align our waists like woven belts, fine mists of ink spray small versions of truth and speculation. So much is lost in the theater of imagination, in the hazy gaze, just a few people before me, behind me. We are all waiting and shifting.
I keep my sunglasses on between walking from the car and waiting in line. I usually take them off while at the register. I like greetings: to look the clerk in the eye, smile, and say thank you. Today I cover my eyes as if the small plastic frames, tortoise-shell, might swallow me whole; hide me from radiant summer and another blue spot of gunshot.
The thought of wounds grow louder, my mind grips at composure. I swallow hard, hold my breath, and wait. The fine lines beneath my eyes twitch, the weight of trauma fills my lower lids with wet and grief. Every word of each news report, each question, the sight and sound of death and assumption, heavy on my cheeks.
I swipe and bag and breathe, feel some sort of relief and guilt, buying this expensive milk, raising bits of complicated sweet and wonder, while our world, our streets, our lives, gather a tangle of welts and fear and rage. What do I say to these boys; don’t worry, we have more time? Their bright brown eyes say show me the light. And while I know I can not promise them the sun, today I can offer love and this half-gallon of milk.