We came here after Columbine

We came here after Columbine
Our children learned long division
lock-down drills, how to talk
to someone whose school had been shot up
after Chardon

We became citizens
after Red Lake, after West Nickel Mines
we thought it our duty to take care
give care, love our neighbors
after Sandy Hook, after Marysville-Pilchuck
nothing changed

Like a baby bald eagle
our guns outgrew their protected status
expanded their habitat
encroached ever more closely upon
populated areas
after Aurora, after Orlando, after Las Vegas

After Marjory Stoneman Douglas
I am about ready to surrender
Let’s paint them
red, white, and blue
have some clergyman
compose a pledge
teach our children to recite it
hand on heart
never let them touch the ground
funeral them with fire
when they retire
inspire the kind of awe
that keeps them in glass cases
and imprinted on underwear
but never stuffed
in a back pocket
for the school run

fold them with ceremony
hand them to the widows
and the grieving mothers
when national tragedy strikes
after Townsville, after Freeman, after Marshall County
hang them at half mast
symbols of our devotions
dangling in the breeze

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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