Poetry Friday with April 27 #Verselove

Not Once
I taught for 22 years after Columbine,
And I have had to witness the gradual horror of
my country becoming
the only nation in the world
that accepts gun violence
as a part of going to school.

In Arizona, not once did we
practice for the inevitable.
We had just two lockdowns–
Once for killer bees in the yard
And again when a VP in a neighboring school
became an urban legend
by talking down an eighth grader with a gun.

In Iowa, there were no lockdowns.
For Austin’s hunting “how-to” speech,
He was asked to bring his rifle
to the principal’s office in the morning
instead of storing it his hall locker.

In Manama, the ancient-by-modern
capital city of Bahrain,
my students worried once
that America was going to bomb Iran,
but they never had to worry about
or practice for gun violence.

But now in this place,
it has become inevitable–
It’s a given:
Some American young people will die in their schools.
But all American young people worry and wonder.

They prepare, they lie quietly,
pretending an active shooter
Is in the hallway trying to kill their teacher
trying to kill their classmates
trying to kill them
with a gun.

Join tens of thousands of others on June 5th.
We are going to Denver to demand action.
We’re #Here4theKids.
Please join us.

Photo by @mrsdkrebs

I’m carrying this poem by Carl Sandburg in my pocket. Click the image to read the poem in text.


Today’s #Verselove prompt is “Place Tells Me to Be” with Chea Parton.

Today Ruth is hosting Poetry Friday at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town. It’s her 17th blog anniversary, and she has pulled out a chair for us to sit down and rest awhile.