Abecedarian for the Navy Yard Shooting

"At 8:16 a.m. the quiet of the office/ broke, the first shot/ cracking the air..." — Courtney LeBlanc remembers the 2013 Navy Yard Shooting.

Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash

Courtney LeBlanc reads “Abecedarian for the Navy Yard Shooting.”

At 8:16 a.m. the quiet of the office
broke, the first shot
cracking the air. Of course, we
didn’t know what was happening,
even when the reality settled in, understanding
finally dawning, the
gun singing out,
hollow clicks when the chamber emptied —
intermittent quiet: reloading.
Just when we thought it was over, the chamber
knocked back, another round of shots.
Lives lost but how
many? We didn’t yet know.
Numbers climbing,
obituaries to be written,
prayers murmured: oh god oh god oh god.
Quietly, people crouched behind desks. He
ran down hallways, his
sawed-off shotgun peeking out,
the barrels black and gapping. We
understood the killing power. The
victims numbered twelve — a small number comparatively.
We were out of the office for seven days,
exactly how long did we need to process this tragedy?
You never forget but you do move on.
Zero days since the last shooting.