There Is Death In This Town

There is death in this town
And I am distant
Far away from where
Heartbeats and fingertips and nicknames and favorite flowers and the way she looked in that yellow dress
Were buried
They tell me my memory is not working and the time is
Sifting out of my skull like hour-glasses full of
Powdery ashes

There is death in this town
I sit and I smile
In plastic blue seats
These smiles are genuine
I laugh
There is laughter
There is green there is blue
There is the trickle of rain once thought beautiful and craved in a thirsty dry desert
Now deadly and dreaded
Over the rusted corners of drain-pipes like tears
Two day-old raindrops now
Left to be washed
Down the cement

There is death in this town
But my house is
Too many off-ramps away
To see the
Mud-graves of those lost
I do not know them
I cannot draw their faces or
Write their names
But they were close and they were alive and we never met
But now I know them and they will never
Know me

There is death in this town
I drive to my lesson once more
Sheet music sits in the passenger seat
Full of little black lines that translate to sounds full of melancholy
Flipping through
Crackling radio stations
I used to prefer the music
Now I listen to
Lipsticked and pressed-tie reporters
Grave voices and the slight
Drift in their speech like
A sad song from long ago
Now remembered
They count the closed eyelids and I
Wonder what I should feel

There is death in this town
I see it in the
Uncertain faces of my peers
We wait for
A news report or a
Carefully written editorial
An intercom announcement
Or a love letter sent home
A phone call a voicemail a left-over diary
Barely readable
Some of us know people
Some of us don’t
Some of us knew people
Some of us didn’t
Some of us are stuck
And we cannot get to them or to ourselves

There is death in this town and
The sun resurfaces
Helicopters fly over the
Stacked window-wall of my art classroom
I hold paint brushes in my hand and watch them go
Left to right to left and I hope
They’re carrying someone and I hope
There is breath in their lungs

There is death in this town and
I pray
But I’m
Not quite sure
What to pray for so
I just
Send a sad song to His gates and
A few hopes and few fears and
Ask for a map and that his lips and her cheeks would not be
To the touch

There is death in this town and
This is what

it is sad here. mudslides have left a lot of people lost and dead. maybe you've seen us on the news. it's been a tough season for my city. fires and floods and hurting people. i want to recognize those hurting. prayer is beautiful and heals and comforts. please pray.


  1. I’ve heard about the mud slide— praying for all of the victims & their loved ones. <3

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

  2. It's such a tragic time. I have seen the news on repeat. The mudslides ad fires are a tragic thing. I liked what you wrote about the people you didn't know but lived there. I'm praying for California.
    Simply Me

    1. Thank you so much Vanessa. It truly has been a tragic time. Your prayers are so appreciated <3

  3. That made me cry :(

    1. Aw I am sorry. But tears are healthy. It is truly a time worthy of some sadness.

  4. a very painstakingly real poem to read. Its so real that i've had to push it away. Is this what you read at the poetry slam? I missed them and I wish I had seen. I've been sick this whole week.

    1. I did! I miss you <3 Hope you feel better friend. I know it's super real. Super sad :( It was hard to read at the slam.