Yesterday we were five years old, counting down the tick tocks
from the standard-issue black clocks until recess time
without a single thought of the outside world. As we ran
about the flat top and through pits of sawdust that rose up
to meet our heels, we threw caution to the wind and cared not about
the scuff marks on our shoes or the rubbing of raw rust on our hands
as we snaked our way through the grooves of the playground
and in the sand. We were fearless, because we had never seen hatred
or pain, remained careless before our faces ever grew tear-stained. At that age,
we never saw metal bars used for anything but creaky monkey bars,
never saw it through the streaky eyes of an inmate from inside prison walls. At that age,
we never knew the sawdust beneath our heels and in our shoes was
highly flammable and used for fuel, never knew it could ignite to light up
the night in a blaze we only ever saw in movies or on TV. At that age,
we never knew the kids playing around us and living life so easy and carefree
would grow up to be the murderers and rapists we see on the news,
on media websites getting record hits and spiking upwards in number of views.
And we know it’s not right but we stare at glowing screens until
our sight starts to go hazy and we get plagued by information about fiends! fiends! fiends!
shooting children on a lazy winter afternoon. It’s insane here in this nation where
December doesn’t stand for Christmas and holiday cheer but, instead, loneliness
and massacre and mourners’ tears; we live in a time full of misunderstanding
and fear, but no one is trying to listen to the sounds of the voices
we pretend not to hear.