so I call my brother, asking him
to become, additionally, bulletproof.
A human can only worry so many
possibilities into superpowers, can only
doubt the rules of order so long before
kindergarteners wear body armor to class
and the whole neighborhood burns,
sympathetic as a virus. We move forward,
which means back to our pact
with the world. When faced with disaster,
our brains turn first to anything else:
trusting that the open door and ransacked
dresser mean not a robbery, but
a forgetful morning, the dog feeling contrary;
gunshots near the burning house mean
a door knocked down, a hoseline bursting.
The way that I trust implicitly
the uniqueness of my hotel keycard; and so,
seeing the latched chain, and then
the elderly woman beyond, gasping in the bed,
paperback splayed on the floor,
I think first: Grandmama, here? And later:
No place is truly safe. And much later:
This is my room, lying down, finally, to read.
Originally trained as a pianist, Anne-Marie Thompson now works as a technical writer for a software company and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. New poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, StorySouth, 32 Poems, and Green Mountains Review. Her book, Audiation, was selected by Marilyn Nelson for the 2013 Donald Justice Poetry Award.