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Tuesday, June 14, 2022


by Jen Schneider

Adam Maida / The Atlantic ; Getty

what (kind of) country / ‘tis of thee
hosts parents on video streams 
to plead for safety of schools & children
/ amidst stains & stained solutions / full

of propositions & prepositions

to paint / not of 
            watercolors / of blood

to stay quiet / not to 
            nap / to survive

            to arm teachers / not of 
            books / with bullets

            to dial 911 / not as 

            a drill / as a final word

to dodge rocks turned rounds
to climbs hills turned mountains
to fight – against & again  

for their lives / before men
            in suits / in primetime
what (kind of) country / ‘tis of thee
values weapons more than life
counts more guns than people 
hosts rallies alongside funerals
for primetime performance 

what (kind of) country / ’tis of thee
identifies children by sneaker color
normalizes imbalance / numbers
of mass shootings & days in a year
with guns the leading cause 
of death of children / primed
for primetime performance  

what (kind of) country / ‘tis of thee
invokes names & images 
of emmett till / napalm girl
on primetime to debate / the value of life

scales forever tilted against the innocent
a country stained & forever shamed

my country / ‘tis of thee
            / of thee i weep

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. Recent works include A Collection of RecollectionsInvisible InkOn Habits & Habitats, and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups.