Reading the Newspaper Before and After
by Ellaraine Lockie

When I was nearsighted
the news read clear and silent
Like looking at a crystal lake on a still day
Reflections of others surface deep
Even the tragedies floated
in soft tones of sadness before drifting
into the next column

The day I became farsighted
that lake turned into a torrent
The howl in my head like a Montana tempest
And the newspaper columns blurred
near non-recognition
All but the headlines

9-Year-old Boy Becomes 10th Death
in Rock Festival Crush
Oil Tanker Explodes 98 Bodies
Teen Shot While Waiting for School Bus

Shocks that now soften into a haze of empathy
The siren song of grief into the croon of camaraderie
A clutch like a lifeboat in that storm
after the headline about my husband reads
Sunnyvale Man Dies in Train Suicide
And I see through bifocals far into the future
of meeting families each morning
who are no longer just names

Editor’s note: September 10-16, 2023, has been designated as National Suicide Prevention Week.


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