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Nancy Krygowski: “Here’s a Partial List of Mass Shootings in the United States So Far This Year”

NY Times headline, Nov. 20, 2022


And here’s an armchair of glass shards, a blanket of fish hooks.
And here’s a hollowed tomato stuffed with cigarette ash and spit.
Here’s a cup of winter clouds which will block your esophagus
as you drink. Here’s the book of names taller than a staircase,
pages puffed from dried tears. Here’s a refrigerator seeping molasses,
swimming pool of thorns, the flower pot of silent tongues.
Here’s the composite of 3,247 photos of mouths. Remarkable
how all of them are trembling. Here’s the Styrofoam container
the office manager threw away. (Even though it’s the owner’s responsibility.)
And here’s a hot sauce bottle filled with ice, a stack of checked-off
to-do lists, a pillow stuffed with pulled-out teeth.
Here’s the full list of the people the murdered have kissed.
Here’s a pair of slippers made of birds’ beaks, ear plugs made of screams.
Here are the grains of sand you will slip under your eyelids,
the lit match with which to brush your hair.
Here’s the breakfast of stones, the dinner of poisonous leaves.
And here are the dead’s emptied clothes.

Copyright 2022 Nancy Krygowski

Nancy Krygowski is the co-editor of the Pitt Poetry Series. She is the author of The Woman in the Corner (Pitt 2020).

Nancy Krygowski

19 comments on “Nancy Krygowski: “Here’s a Partial List of Mass Shootings in the United States So Far This Year”

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    December 1, 2022

    Wow. Damn. So good. And damn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 2, 2022

      I agree, Lisa. The poem captures the chaos and confusion that follows a mass shooting.


      Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Huntington
    December 1, 2022

    Thank you. With chemo, chocolate has tasted ok, poetry lost that yank and pull and slash and ache and sharp blade in my heart. Today is the longest I have gone without chemo and I go in today for more. Before I go, I think I will try a small piece of chocolate because oh this poem had brought back why I love poetry, why I cry, why it is better to know I am still capable of feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 1, 2022

      Oh, Barbara. What a beautiful poem you’ve written here. Thank you. Five years ago, my brother was diagnosed with brain cancer and given six months to live. Today, he’s sending out job applications. Just sayin’.


      Liked by 2 people

    • vengodalmare
      December 2, 2022

      What’s beautiful you say; I’m next to you eating chocolate and crying for a poem we just read. And I just remind you that… Today is Today, forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosaly roffman
    November 30, 2022

    Important and moving–speaks for all of us and our weeping. Thanks Nancy. Rosaly


  4. janishaag
    November 30, 2022

    Incredibly brilliant, heartbreaking poem, Nancy. Thanks so much for writing and sharing it. One of my favorite lines: “Here’s the full list of the people the murdered have kissed.”


  5. Sean Sexton
    November 30, 2022

    Awesome powerful poem!
    The fully reaized quotient of its subject.


  6. ellenmcgsmith
    November 30, 2022

    Love this treatment of how “normal” this has all become!


  7. Arlene Weiner
    November 30, 2022

    Thank you so much for this poem.


  8. matthewjayparker
    November 30, 2022

    Exquisite, even more so in the subtext clearly lamenting the fact that we need write such poetry at all.


  9. Emily De Ferrari
    November 30, 2022

    “A partial list” of painful and unbelievable truths. “A full list”
    of the people who have been kissed. thanks for this, Nancy Krygowski.


  10. José A. Alcántara
    November 30, 2022

    “Ear plugs made of screams… the lit match with which to brush your hair”


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This entry was posted on November 30, 2022 by in Most Popular, Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , , .

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