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Urban Psalm


You will not fear the terror of night…a thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. –Psalm 91:5, 7

Tires squeal. I hear gunshots fire,
sounding like the snapping of wood.
A man’s voice cries out.
Is he as near as he sounds?
Sirens drown him out as blue and red lights
from police cars and an ambulance
flash through night sky.
“It’s in their hands,” I think.
I turn back to my late dinner.

An hour later, I step into my bedroom.
Police car lights beam through gaps in my blinds.
I notice a tiny hole under my window,
with paint chips and drywall crumbles
scattered on my hardwood floor.

Drive-by shooting? It happened to me?

I go to the officers outside.
They come in with flashlights and camera,
spot a hole in my great grandmother’s hope chest,
pull out scarves and sweaters,
unfold them and toss them on my bed,
until they find the bullet in a green fleece beanie hat.

They leave, as I look at my bed, full of scarves.
I’m too tired to put them away, too tired to be scared.

I lie on my couch, my cat on my stomach,
my arms wrapping around her warm fur.
I’m alive. I’m not hurt.
Lights in windows turn off,
as neighbors go back to sleep.

Every leaf is still on the trees.
The moon is still out.

God is still here.

-- Jennifer F., Adult