the first was columbine. it should have been the last.

Kindergarten classrooms have fun little rhymes everywhere. 

Some help with spelling, others rules, still others hold the instructions for an active shooter. Elementary school kids know their multiplication tables 

and that their dead bodies aren’t enough 

for old gun-loving politicians to change something for the better. 

Middle schoolers wonder who they’d take a bullet for, 

and who would take one for them. 

High schoolers fear fire drills, what if it's a trap? 

Kids are told to run hide fight, because the ones who have to fight 

are the ones who give the running and hiding a few more precious seconds. 

Students memorize escape routes 

and learn what’s light enough to throw and heavy enough to do damage. 

Heavy backpacks have value, for that weight becomes a weapon for the unlucky. 

Phones are kept on silent 24/7, because the one time we forget 

might be the last time. 

We teach each other ways we could barricade the doors, even the ones that open outwards. 

Some of us walk in a room and find anything that could be weaponized. 

Many of us need to know where the exits are, and hate having our back to the room. 

We march, 

we speak out, 

but we are not listened to. 

We are told we do not understand the complexities. 

That it will be hard to build effective gun control laws. 

We know. 

We know. 

But we also know what we, 

if not ourselves then others our age, 

have lived through or died from. 

And the bullets aren’t what killed us. 

Our death is your apathy. 

Our death is your fear of upsetting a fragile, broken contract. 

Our death is your cowardice. 


Our death is you.


Poetry Slam: 
This poem is about: 
My country


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