Sunday, February 16, 2014

Headline Poem 2/16/14 -- Oconee River

(Photo credit seriousrunning.com)

Today's poem is inspired by news from Georgia. There are several competing headlines from this region today -- earthquakes and aftershocks, weather delays, and deaths. One particular story about the snow took me back to my days at The University of Georgia, and a snow day I vaguely remember, but will never forget.

Oconee River 

The news hit the campus hard
There was a killer on the loose
A new mother, 
bloody from the birth, 
and then death of her newborn child
Who is so scared to have new life next to them that they cut the cord and then stab a baby to death? 

Oconee Hall at the University of Georgia in Athens
The body was found in the dumpster outside
It was a cold February night
When I heard the news, I ran down to the river with the same name
Out of breath, I threw a penny from the bridge
I wanted to throw up
I was confused  
I made a promise to the dead baby and her tormented college mom,
Embrace what comes your way, 
a lofty, idealistic goal

I went home and sang to Hootie and the Blowfish, and talked about Philosophy until 2 a.m.
We tried to forget, though it was hard to imagine, 
but being young women, we tried
She could be one of us
A bearer of secrets, who gave birth in a bathroom, with scissors taken from her dorm room desk 

It snowed the next day, and they cancelled school 
The bus couldn't get over the bridge 
We spent the day drinking hot chocolate and watching Friends until we couldn't stay up any longer, and went to bed 

When the sun came out, 
the quarter ended, 
and I said goodbye to the Oconee River