The School Across the Street has had that sign for many years.
You know, the one that assures the children that this is
A Place where they can be
Safe from storms at home and
Safe from storms of nature.
A Place where they do not need to fear the cyclone cloud of an Indiana spring,
where the echoing sirens,
telling them to shelter,
are sending them
to gather, to wait out whatever threat is being hurled at them.
We didn’t have
Safe Places when
I was a child except for our
Which we knelt, just
in case the Russians bombed us with their nukes.
Then this is where we would be So Safe,
So Safe because our teachers told us so
and we wanted to believe them
and we waited until we heard the all clear
and then we emerged laughing a little nervously
because we didn’t really believe those desks
that kept our books and pencil cases safe would actually keep us safe
from The Bomb.
Still, though we had no Sign that announced this as a Safe Place,
it seemed it just might be one.
The School Across the Street has that sign. Safe Place.
It no longer convinces us that this is true.