“Déjà vu,” “Among the Remains,” and “In an Instant”

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Deja Vu

Threat of late Spring rain,

against the chalk scrawled blackboard,

shower of bullets.

Teachers throw bodies

splashing over stunned students

last lectures of love.

Deja vu moment

longing to erase the vision,

empty desks bloodied.

Small hands held crayons,

drew pictures of smiling suns,

parents hug drawings.

Across the screen names,

biographies of short lives,

flash of photographs.

Once more tears of loss,

Rage at those who value guns

over small faces.

Repetition reigns,

neglected mental illness,

Spring day of sorrow.

On their knees, parents

praying for innocent souls

drifting towards heaven.

Teddy bears, balloons

candles flicker at night-fall,

handwritten letters.

A child lays flowers

holding mother’s shaking hand

whispers, goodbye, friend.

Among the Remains

I shuffle through ashes,

grey flakes stick to my shoes, my pant legs.

Stench of fire, of rotting flesh, of powdery residue,

floats above the ruin in a fog-like cloud.

I have seen this in my nightmares.

Large rectangular foundation filled with rubble,

what’s left of our four-story apartment building,

collapsed from constant bombardment.

I stumble through ruins naming occupants:

some dead, others fled...to somewhere.

I recite prayers from my childhood,

mix Ukranian with Russian.

I kick the legs of a charred chair;

it disintegrates around my ankles.

Red embers smolder beneath fractured pillars,

glowing like eyes of the devil.

I burn my fingers on a metal button,

sad remnant of someone’s clothing.

I inventory the remains:

a corner of a photograph lacking an image,

scattered documents, books with burnt edges.

grotesquely twisted bicycle frames,

shattered crockery, a panel of empty mailboxes,

shards of glass from windows, mirrors, vases...

My heavy shoes break the crust. Then...

something soft, afraid to look, I hold my breath...

Only a child’s stuffed bear missing a leg,

covered in soot, white fur turned black.

In a singed refrigerator,

my nose assaulted by the smell of moldy food,

there is nothing fit to eat.  But, thank God,

precious liquid, three unopened cans:

beer, soda, tomato juice.

            I must find my mother,

                        she is so thirsty.

In an Instant

Everyday, somewhere

                        a man with a gun

                        occasionally a woman or a child

                                    mows down a clutch of unsuspecting victims

In an instant

            hearts stop beating

            lungs expand in a final expulsion

                                    rooms exhale in silence


Everyday, somewhere

                        police receive urgent calls

                        outline blood-stained bodies with blue chalk

                                                map carnage with yellow tape

In an instant

            classrooms become crime scenes

            blackboards pocked with bullet holes

                                                 playgrounds turn into morgues


Everyday, somewhere

                        a parent receives a call from an unfamiliar number

                        incomprehensible pronouncements

                                                 pray it is not their child

In an instant

            families break in pieces

            text messages flash from friends

                                                strangers post announcements on social media


Everyday, somewhere

                        families and friends file past closed coffins

                        communities rally with unanswered questions

            politicians call for gun control that never passes

In an instant

            photos of victims outlined in black

            memorials of flowers and balloons

                                                candle light vigils at twilight


Everyday, somewhere

                           a poet, in an effort to comprehend

                           the randomness of the dice

                           pens words, stanzas flow

                                        no answers emerge


                                                     Everyday         somewhere      In an instant....

About the Author

Louise Moises

Louise Moises was born and raised in San Francisco Bay Area, graduating from San Jose State with a major in Speech and Drama and minor in English. She enjoys traveling in her 23 foot RV with her cat, exploring places that inspire her writing. Her poems and stories have been recognized by the literary divisions of the San Mateo County and Marin County Fairs, the Ina Coolbrith Circle, the Artists Embassy International, Bay Area Poets Coalition & Keats Soul Making.