A Poet Contemplates the Aurora Shooting

Listen Now

For a second time this summer, we turn to the state’s poet laureate under grim circumstances. Just last month, David Mason shared with us his poem about the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs. Mason lives there. He’s a professor at Colorado College. This time, he’s written about about what he calls an “even more impossible subject,” the shooting in Aurora. Mason is spending some time in Oregon, so he recorded his poem, and some thoughts about it, himself. He tells us that, at first, it was hard to decide what approach to take.

After The Last Shot

by David Mason

So much goes by unseen: the parking lots,

the passing cars, the brick apartment blocks

and faces masked in shade or turned away.

How many faces did you see today?

After the last shot one face will appear

and then another—Here I am. I'm here—

but others are not there. Not anywhere.

Still you see them. See, they begin to blur,

a recurring nightmare jolting you awake.

You try to drown it in the TV talk

or take a walk where sad arroyos run

in waterless confusion through the land.