Word Medicine

Writing and Healing: exploring the art of healing and the healing of art

After The Boston Marathon April 17, 2013



Whose war is this?



an ordinary spring day

and my husband comes through

the kitchen door,

“Did you hear what happened

in Boston—at the Marathon?” he asks.

For a moment, the sunshine,

the birdsong, the forsythia in the vase

all stay the same,

before dissolving into black.


I call my sister.

Her daughter and boyfriend,

his family, yes, they are all

accounted for.  She was in her

garden, feeding the chickens, and

just found out herself.

“They are shaken, she says,

“in shock, but whole,”

she reports.  Lucky,

they were lucky, unlike


Martin Richard, eight.

A neighbor’s homey

Dorchester  accent

describes him

“an ordinary little boy,

freckles, y’know,

an imp.”  She is crying now,

can’t go on. Later,

the boy’s father, his voice

unsteady, old, thanks

all the people who helped them—

those who prayed for them,

those known and unknown.

His wife and daughter

will survive, he says.

Is surviving

our new art form?


Lucky, they were lucky.

Unlike Krystal Campbell,

Whose mother can barely

speak through her tears

“Krystle Marie, she was

a wonderful person;

she had a heart of gold;

this doesn’t make sense,”

The pain in her voice is

too raw,  I squirm, barely

breaking before I hit

the car in front of me,

the one with the vanity

plates, “GAGURL.”


The victims talk of anger

that cannot find a target,

no faces to picture, no

human enemy, no sense.

Who? Who? The

newly legless want to know.

I can barely read the

descriptions of amputations,

of shredded flesh, of limbs

ripped off, of nails embedded in

flesh, and I feel my own flesh

exposed, vulnerable. I don’t

want to feel this


or watch the mayhem, over

and over, and yet I do, I

watch the runners fall,

the blood spill, the man

clawing the air,

the smoke ascending

like a burnt offering.  I want

to disregard the now eerily

familiar images, just as I tried

to disregard the images

over there, to not let them in.

Over there is here now.

We are in it now,

in someone’s,

persons unknown’s,

senseless war.





One Response to “After The Boston Marathon”

  1. Sharon Bray Says:

    “Is surviving
    our new art form?” Thank you, Sara…my own words fail me just now.


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