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Thursday, August 15, 2019


by George Salamon

Xavier Usanga was about 15 hours away from a new school year as a second grader at Clay Elementary when he was fatally shot Monday, August 12, 2019, while standing near an 18-year-old who was also shot but survived. The 7-year-old’s death makes him the 11th area child killed in a shooting since June. About half of them attended St. Louis Public Schools, said Kelvin Adams, superintendent of the St. Louis Public School District. In the above photo,  provided by Alderman Brandon Bosley to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Xavier Usanga is pictured during a LINKS St. Louis Neighborhood event in Hyde Park in July 2019.

A child smiling,
A child so new.
He came out to play,
Not ready for death.
Not "in the confines
Of his home, or "on
A street not known
For violence." How
Is it we don't choke
Speaking these words?
How is it a part of us
No longer dies at
The death of a child?
We dare not ask.

George Salamon lives in St. Louis and has most recently published in Dissident Voice, Proletaria, The Asses of Parnassus, and TheNewVerse.News.