How many times will I sit on the floor of my office, in the dark, writing about the losses our country continues to suffer, one child at a time, one woman at a time? 

It is my birthday today [or, it was when I started this post on Thursday]. I didn't plan to have time to write, but time made itself. My to-do list of papers to grade and write and edit grows longer. Somewhere near here, another person's to-do list becomes irrelevant, as irrelevant as entire bedrooms filled with teenagers' clothes. 

I tell my students, if you speak you'll be heard! And I remember how much I used to like digging forts in snow drifts when I was little, how I liked to make new spaces then protect them. I remember watching people like me file out of a school in Colorado. I remember watching my teachers and thinking, what can you do?

I keep writing poems on my office floor. I am listening to the young adults speak in Florida and everywhere else in this country. 



It’s the sound
of nobody
the soft scrawl
of initials
being carved
into a chair.
It’s the lullaby
a body sings
when it leaps
in front of
smaller bodies,
the hymn
of another week
gone by.
Every day
on the bus
I wonder if
I’m the rifle
or the rabbit.
I want to be
a shelter
but maybe
I’m the villain’s
Make my body
a desk, I say
to nobody
and nobody says
I can’t be
I decide
to be massive.
I make myself
a whale
and sing
but every song
is a ballad
of a better
being built
in a town

near here.

photo Tim Marshall


Anonymous said…
Just in Case

When I walk the hill to my car, it isn’t until
the last stretch when my calves feel on fire, that
I slide my arms out from under the straps of my bag,
ready to project it as a pseudomorph, or twitching tail.

When going up, the weight is a burden,
but on campus, it is worn like armor as I wonder
whether a laptop and a heavy textbook,
are enough to stop bullets.

When I make jokes about clutter
in the classroom being a fire hazard,
I’m also saying I hope there’s a clear path to run,
when we’re inevitably fired upon.

When I pack my bag before heading out,
I contemplate whether I should include
a note, on what to do with my body
just in case my books aren’t thick enough.
Just in case I can’t run fast enough.
Just in case.
Just in case.
Pamela said…
I love this and loved your winning poem in Rhino. Brava. Thank you for sharing.

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