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Saturday, June 14, 2014


by Tricia Knoll

Joshua Mitchell wore the soccer jersey of younger brother Emilio Hoffman during graduation who was shot and killed by fellow student Jared Michael Padgett, 15, just two days ago in the school locker room in Troutdale. Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian, June 12, 2014

There was smoke, a girl crouching in a locker room
saw smoke, smelled it, heard the rattle of shells
and ammo in a flack jacket filled with fumbling fingers
looking to reload.

There was smoke in the mind of the boy
who carried the guns from home.

The deadly smoke of anger,
a soul burning
with wrongs

all wrongs
done to him
he’d do unto others.

He died in his poison smoke,
our confusion of fog
hanging in the trees
the morning of graduation
like a death sentence.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet -- who taught high school English for eight years not far from Reynolds High School.