Wednesday, July 06, 2022


by Laura Rodley
If I write this poem
will you breathe again?
Will the bullet
eject itself from your heart,
close the hole where
the blood pumps out
over the ground,
will the blood surge
through the stunned portions
of your heart, your legs,
let them walk again?
If I write this poem
will it rewind time, stop the sale
of the automatic rifle
to a twenty-two year-old—
his whole life ahead of him—
who fired into
the 4th of July parade in Highland Park,
killing seven, no life ahead of them now.
If I write this poem
will the parade stop on 4th street
so where he stood on the roof
is too far away for his bullets
to reach, the slew of revelers
rerouted, over the river, safe.
If I write this poem
will this sky pour down its angels
to dismantle the armories,
dismantle the gun cabinets,
dismantle the twenty-two-year old’s gun,
dismantle the anger, despair, whatever
feeds this frenzy, though, yes, I know
angels can only surge their light,
flicker on the intention, even they cannot
lift the rifle, pull it out of his hands,
—given free choice,
the shooter must do it for himself,
should have chosen otherwise;
the next shooter must decide
for himself: put the weapon down.
Is it because of a lack of a way
to be a hero that they take up arms
and destroy? Rewind, give
the people back their lives. Do it now.

Laura Rodley, Pushcart Prize winner, is a quintuple Pushcart Prize nominee and quintuple Best of Net nominee. Latest books: Turn Left at Normal by Big Table Publishing, Counter Point by Prolific Press, and As You Write It Lucky Lucky 7, a collection of 11 writers' work.