They shot a Woman Yesterday

They shot a Woman Yesterday

A Poem by Marie Anzalone

They were aiming for the driver,

but he saw them. He knew to duck.

She did not.

She was just a passenger.

She was behind him.

She had a baby in her arms.

 

I have not kept good count;

I think he would have been

around the 10th this year,

just in our town.

Sacrificed to the rule of extortion,

to the gods of expendability.

 

There will be no outrage.

The People will not block roads

for her.

They may place a cross to mark that

exact place where she exited this stage,

taking her baby with her.

 

They will call it an unfair tragedy.

They will call it, the will of God.

They will cry and wring their hands,

ask what anyone can do about it?

These things happen here,

they will say, in voices loaded with

saccharine and sympathy.

 

She was riding the bus

to visit someone, to do the marketing.

She rode buses because she was poor.

She could have been my neighbor.

She could have been my coworker.

She could have been my friend.

She could have been, me.

 

Someone decided yesterday

that someone else’s life

was worth somewhere around $30

in cash. It did not matter whose.

His, hers; the message is the same.

Written in blood, scripted

with a revolver on a plastic seat

in the universal language of oppressors

and their victims.

 

It could have happened in Africa.

It could have been Venezuela.

It could have happened in Detroit.

or Syria. But it was here. Again.

 

They shot a woman yesterday,

and our world is a little heavier today.

There is less song today.

 

A woman was shot yesterday.

Her loss will be felt, but not seen.

Her contribution was not the kind

to be counted.

 

She was shot, and the world kept turning.

Corn was husked and ground for masa.

Prayers were said at mass.

Eggs were broken for husbands to eat.

There is simply one less visitor

to the market today, one less prayer

recited aloud.

 



 

for Luis, who shared this sadness with me today. And reminded be to be careful.

who sometimes reduces the fare so I do not have to take buses every day.

 

© 2017 Marie Anzalone


Author's Note

Marie Anzalone
This piece was inspired by a conversation I had this morning with a friend, who always shares imprtant local and national news with me. I was out of town for two days. We have seen, in the past tw years, a general disintegration of civility and order in our beautiful city, with rampant corruption, extortion, and ecalation fo unrest, violence, and impunity. It is very sad for us, as our city has for centuries been a beacon of progress and hope for millions of people.

This piece was translated from my original in Spanish, which can be found here:
http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/zorra_encantada/1958966/

Picture is from the local news.


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Featured Review

Walking down this path now through your words, and her life that seemed to fade so fast, so horrifically, it lingers in your voice to awaken us all from this terrifying nightmare of complacency. Her life was as valuable, as glorious as any world leader, though no flags will be lowered. She was alive, she was life, and any life stolen like this should be mourned by every life. We are a collective, we are connected, and we weep as one. We weep now as one for her. :(

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Walking down this path now through your words, and her life that seemed to fade so fast, so horrifically, it lingers in your voice to awaken us all from this terrifying nightmare of complacency. Her life was as valuable, as glorious as any world leader, though no flags will be lowered. She was alive, she was life, and any life stolen like this should be mourned by every life. We are a collective, we are connected, and we weep as one. We weep now as one for her. :(

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

a touching tribute to the too often forgotten. we should all be outraged. we become desensitized to such things after a while due to the harshness of life and media bombardment. all life is precious & belongs to the almighty. delicate but powerful words of conscience & consequence.

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

And like a gory inflation rate the price of life gets less and less valuable as we become 'accustomed' to the bad news and the toll.
And life goes on...
I did feel this one personally.
You paid a beautiful homage with the truth Marie.


Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

What language was your mind thinking in - when you conceived the poem? Did it translate into the same poem or did it become its own poem?

I wonder if the English version was really as personal as the Spanish one could have been - shades of meaning, implied cultural aphorisms, audience perceptions and expectations.

I believe it is NEVER that "life-is-cheap" - especially for its loser. It IS that MY WANTS MUST take precedence over your WANTS - to me. Altruism is empowered by shared "stability" - and the pressures applied to living in our "now" make life far from stable.

The woman BECAME another red-glass candle in Church... in memory of...


Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

When I wish for the remarkable, I come to you. When I wish for education, I come. When my instinct is for social comment. When I wonder about this world of ours. When I want to hope that the fight for justice is still rampant. When I want to feel that one person is at least doing something against all odds. For all this I come to read you and I am variously shocked, moved, taught, showed empathy and understanding and above all what it is to be an intelligent, aware, motivated artist in today's world.

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

You've just carried me to a place I've never visited nor will.. but i feel its darkness after reading your more than fine though wretchedly tragic language.

Life is so cruel in almost too many countries these days - as you say, the evil shooting could have happened in other places.. too many other places.
However, it did happen in your world, you know how its created an unease by way of such an indifferent silence.. no beating of chests, no banging of drums or marching in streets. A thirty dollar death leaving a blood red stain on humanity.

Your words speak almost in a whisper - how it was, no overly dramatic touches.. but a sadness of spaces between the words. You've always had that skill, R. Dear you, your world must surely feel desperate so often. Seems in Luis, you have a guardian angel .. thank God. Please, take care. Emma.

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Raquelita

2 Years Ago

Emma, you cannot know how much I appreciate you working through this piece. As an empath, I know how.. read more
emmajoy

2 Years Ago

Many, many years since we first exchanged thanks, R. To say tthere haven't been any changes would be.. read more
Firstly. Great poem.
Sadly these days, life is cheap.
Or should i say. If you're poor, life is cheap
Total waste of life. But you've probably heard that lots of times before.

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Marie Anzalone

2 Years Ago

Thank you, Paul, for the reads and reviews. Yes, I have heard that many times- it takes on new meani.. read more
Paul Bell

2 Years Ago

Hope it wins.

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Added on September 18, 2017
Last Updated on September 18, 2017

Author

Marie Anzalone
Marie Anzalone

Xecaracoj, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala



About
Bilingual (English and Spanish) poet, essayist, novelist, and technical writer working in Central America. "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start argume.. more..

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