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Monday, April 23, 2018


by Charles Hughes

Pink, perfect orchid blossom off its stem,
Still ballerina crumpled to the stage.
A little life gone out of this new day
That could, being a school day, be the one

When a small child you love far more than flowers
Performs her class's active-shooter drill
For real, because an angry man acquired
A real AR-15 to bring to school.

She leaves at home dance slippers, princess dresses.
Beginning kindergarten, she's been brave—
Unlike her country, which (you sense she senses)
Will only do so much to keep her safe.

Charles Hughes is the author of the poetry collection Cave Art (Wiseblood Books, 2014) and was a Walter E. Dakin Fellow at the 2016 Sewanee Writers' Conference. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Christian Century, the Iron Horse Literary Review, Measure, the Sewanee Theological Review, The Saint Katherine Review, Think Journal, and elsewhere. He worked as a lawyer for thirty-three years before his retirement and lives with his wife in the Chicago area.