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As the bedlam of the morning rush recedes, the hours of wait start to dim, since she last held her child’s mangled body, reduced to a school shooting story that would begin when hers ended forever.
Trigger Warning: This deals with graphic violence, death, and school shootings, and may be triggering for survivors.
School shootings—terrifying to students, educators, parents, and communities—always reignite polarizing debates about gun rights and school safety. After everything has silenced- the newspaper headlines, the echo of the gunshots, the vigil, the wokeness, the interviews, the fake niceties, what stays is the undigestible and agonizing narrative of a family who lost their child to the anarchy of this world and the rage people harbor.
During the yearlong lockdown, school shootings dropped to historic levels. In fact, March of 2020 was the first March in 18 years with zero school shootings. Of the 10 total reported school shootings in 2020, five of them occurred in January, before the first mass quarantine.- New York Times
She is on her phone, chatting animatedly,
giggling like her child chasing gazillion bubbles in the air
and often exclaims- Really! Wow! I love that! I love you too!
when someone passes her.
She spreads a gossamer-thin smile
a ritual between familiar strangers on a dogwood trail
and drops the keywords while picking up speed
before her voice plummets to – Little one, are you there? Can you hear me?
The morning chill forces her to unzip her sheepskin jacket
the blast of the crisp air blitzes through her flame
Somehow it smells of a cadaver rotting beneath the black Oak
on the boughs of which he would swing
soaked in hope, a mélange of golden, honey, amber
On some other day, the crape myrtle would sway submissively to his desire
a melee of purple, mauve, violet
He would spot an enormous orange tree overhanging the sidewalk
Valencia, Navels, or Clementine,
Decoding with an eye of a pomologist
in the citric air, the lemon tree would peer from behind
its limbs weary with clusters of small, round, and oval
They would flit in and out, in cheery disposition, as if playing hide and seek
the robin, the sparrow, the house finch, and the little rapscallion…
Now, back in her house on a red cedar swing with a small pergola
his Pokémon’s, in rigor mortis, lie frozen
and her head spins faster than water swirling down the drain.
She is closer to his school, a compilation of bones and flesh
skulls big and small, as she chews her insides and tastes blood,
Just then, someone passes her, and she takes control
Raising her voice, she exclaims O Really! O Wow! O, I love that! I love you too, Bud!
She forces her gossamer smile and leans close to the bark of a northern oak
where she waited while he hunted for the lost water bottle
The crimson leaves riding on the autumn air
like splinters they fall on her skin, burning, bruising, battering
Until the school bell rings and she pivots to return
To soak his clothes in the dirt,
and scatter the Legos under the couch
To spill milk over the ivory vinyl table cover
and topple the last piece of porcelain vase with his football.
As the bedlam of the morning rush recedes
17520 hours of wait starts to dim
since she last held his mangled body
Reduced to a school shooting story that would begin when hers ended forever.
Clutching her phone, she presses it hard against her ears
Groping for a connection, a dew, a drop, or dust,
as words scatter like black mustard from a broken spice jar
-R-e-a-l-l-y! W-o-w! I-L-o-v-e-t-h-a-t! I – m-i-s-s y-o-u-t-o-o
Walking past, a welter of emotions torpedo through her cage
In a thicket of loneliness, over a stone, she stumbles, gasps and groans
at the phone and her life- dismantled, demolished, dead.
Image source: Glavo on pixabay
Header image source: DarioGaona from Getty Images Signature Free for Canva Pro
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