Wednesday, May 25, 2022


by Ann E. Wallace

“Pinky Promise” by Joseph Patton

Can you see it?

The shredding of precious 

organs, of slim muscles and growing

bones, of smiles and baby teeth,

of dimples and pinky promises, 

when weapons meant for war

open fire on 40- and 50-pound

children crouching under desks,

hiding behind racks of graded 

readers, and huddling

in the pretend play center.


Can you imagine

what damage has been 

wreaked when a mother must 

recall the neatly pressed 

dress or red striped shirt 

her third grader selected 

for the end of school festivities, 

two days before summer break, 

when a father must swab 

his cheek or offer a vial of blood 

to confirm that the shattered 

remains held in the morgue 

belong to his darling child?


How as a nation 

do we bear that another 

community has been asked 

to be patient, that parents 

were again told to not pick up 

their kids, not yet, when they heard 

the news, so as not to cause chaos—as if

parents’ terror caused this mayhem—

until officials have finished scouring

the brightly colored classrooms 

for small victims, until doctors

have saved those they could

and zipped those they could not 

into oversized body bags, until 

every student has been accounted for,

until nineteen sets of parents 

have learned they will never 

again pick up their children?


How do we justify

that while the devastated 

people of Uvalde have waited 

in desperation for their children 

to be accounted for, 

no one is holding 

our leaders accountable? 


Ann E. Wallace is a poet and essayist from Jersey City, New Jersey. Her published work can be found at AnnWallacePhD. Follow her on Twitter @annwlace409 or on Instagram