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Thursday, May 26, 2022


by Katherine Smith

The maples scatter their necklaces of seedpods
to the grass. My heart aches
for Texas where yesterday an eighteen-year-old
walked into a school and shot
eighteen children, more than one for each year of his life.
Anger spins inside me like wind-torn seeds.
All year long in the classroom I teach my students
to barricade the doors. The children are right
to ignore me. They go on chatting
while I point to tables and chairs.
My explanation will do no good
as the faces of congressmen and senators
at the NRA convention in Houston
do no good, pledging allegiance
chins up, wooden jaws squared as if relishing
yet another opportunity to stand rooted
like dead wood to their murderous cause.

Katherine Smith’s recent poetry publications include appearances in Boulevard, North American Review, Mezzo Cammin, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and many other journals. Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press) appeared in 2014. She works at Montgomery College in Maryland.