The Voice Issue 32: October 2017 - Page 39


My phone buzzes.

I reach for it,

Then I stop.

I don't want to look.

It buzzes again,

The screen goes bright,

I pause biting my lip,

My hands tremble.

This isn't normal,

I've said it before,

So much so that,

It's gotten repetitive.

I should grab my phone,

Lurch for it,

Eyes lighting up,

Eager to text my friend.

Instead I just stare at it,

Because now,

When it buzzes,

I think news alert.

I think mass shooting,

I think tragedy has struck again.

I think I'm not ready.

I think I'm too ready.

I know the response,


Loud and clear,

We grieve, we pray.

Then the sound fades away,

Leaving silence,

Awful silence,

Deafening silence.

I can't tell which is worse,

The buzz of a phone,

Or the silence,

Of our refusal to change.


News Alert.

Buzz, Buzz.

Death Count.


A text.

My friend.

I gulp.

My first thought,

Not the sleepover we're planning,

But that another tragedy has happened.

Because that to me is normal.

I can't tell which is worse,

The buzz of a phone,

Signaling tragedy has struck.

Or the silence,

Signaling the start of the next one.

- Icarus Blackmore, Rutland, VT

Kevin Huang, Burlington, VT