June 21, 2015

Patrick Ryan Frank


Another minivan abandoned off
the off-ramp. Someone said I’ve had enough

and left, just left, and left the radio on
and singing baby, baby, you’re the one.

And who is that when there is no one there?
God, like everybody else, is scared

of everybody else, and trying to hide.
So smoke. So black-winged drones. So so much light

at such strange angles that make the empty hand
look full, look like a fist. Look out at the land.

It isn’t barren, so why does it feel so bare?
The churches are full of people, so are the bars—

the life’s work of the dead. So which lives matter?

Ask the glass and blacktop; you’ll get no answer.

Poets Respond
June 21, 2015


Patrick Ryan Frank: “Since Wednesday’s massacre at a South Carolina church, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. I find that I’m asking myself the same questions I’ve been asking for too long, and I still don’t have any satisfying answers. So instead of addressing that attack or any other event directly—since I still can’t fully fathom it—I’m trying to look at the bigger, even stranger landscape in which it happened.” (website)

Note: This poem has been published exclusively online as part of a project in which poets respond to current events. A poem written within the last week about an event that occurred within the last week will appear every Sunday at Rattle.com. Our only criterion for selection is the quality of the poem, not its editorial position; any opinions expressed are solely those of the poet and do not necessarily reflect those of Rattle’s editors. To read poems from past weeks, visit the Poets Respond page. Interact on our Facebook group. To have a poem considered for next week’s posting, submit it here before midnight Friday PST.