Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Photographic Poem in Remembrance of the 168 people killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing . . .





Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum
April 11, 2015
Poem and Images attributed to and copyright owned by Christal Rice Cooper

I sat on one of the benches
analyzing the raped remains of the Alfred P. Murrah,
the new Bricktown shimmering
like rusty red diamonds
in the sun.

How dare the sun shine today?

when those 168 chairs
had yet to glow
beneath today’s dawn?

I was waiting for them to prophesy to me
by the baptismal waters
that I imagined Jesus walked upon
only His water is deeper.

The birds were there
drinking the living water,
partaking in their own rituals.

All I could hear was
“That man – how dare he!”
or “He did have accomplices.”
And “He was so evil!”

I closed my eyes
trying to block out everything
except the silence the dead speak

but only heard the birds singing
not the expected profound sadness,
but the song of joy for the living !

How dare they be so cheerful?

I opened my eyes in disgust,
looked at other patrons for their reaction
who didn’t seem to notice
the birds dancing across the sky
from one pinecone tree to another,

How dare they not remember the dead?

But I held on to my dignity
saw two pinecones
like fallen fruit on the grass,
gently cradled them in my hands
and placed them in my bag
for my two boys.

How dare the world go on?

The birds walked amongst the chairs,
intermittently stopping to stare.

One bird stopped, turned to face me.
He saw me!
and spoke my language:

“Why must you focus on the dead
when the dead are no longer here?

Why must you focus on anger
when justice has been served?”

Now
I know how to mourn
I know how to let go
I know how to memorialize

and I will never
settle for despair again.
























































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