A prose poem

Daniela Dragas


Dear Reader,

What I am about to tell you cannot be told in verse, perhaps not even in words, so I am going to try in prose.

On Saturday morning a young man half-walks, half-jogs into the mouth of a giant, steel-glass-and-concrete temple where other men and women worship gods of plenty every day of the week, and sometimes even on the in-between days, pulls the blade he brought with him and stabs six people to death.

In the images taken by cameras of those with steady hands, his eyes are dark and still.


Then he, too, is dead.

Within minutes, he is the breaking news splashed across all the portals.

His slaughter makes it to the very top, passing the slaughters happening elsewhere; Ukraine, the Middle East, Africa. Past child exploitation, human trafficking, hunger, homelessness, displacement, desperation, wars, (named and unnamed).

For a few moments the world gasps and keeps its breath as bewildered officers of law and order try to dodge the questions about the young man’s years-long wrestling with mental illness, estrangement, drifting, futile attempts to reach out. These are unpredictable circumstances, they say, we are not resourced to deal with it.