art by Ranko Ajdinović | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook
Late this summer I received a letter
warning me that the car I drove
was defective and its airbag, if deployed,
could shoot shards of metal into my lungs.
It said deployed,
as if a drive is a mission
and highways are combat zones.
I work at a literacy center and the language I use
is surprisingly militaristic.
I give students batteries of tests.
We drill them on phonemes and I recruit volunteers
for days of service. This 9/11
I made a sign on poster board
that students and volunteers wrote on.
They shared what they remembered
and why they were thankful
for those who have fought
terrorism ever since the towers fell.
I didn’t sign it because I couldn’t
think of anything to say
that could sit for a week on a table
between books about heroes and comics about war.
But I did draw a bird flying between
the two columns of signatures and stories.
It has been nine years since he disappeared in the desert,
after an unarmored Humvee exploded.
I don’t have panic attacks anymore but I do say
fuck this a lot and would be pissed off
if I died in a fender bender because safety equipment failed me.