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Wednesday, May 10, 2023


by Anna Evans

He strolls the mall as if he owns the place,
his open carry rifle in plain sight
but there is something missing from his face,
the eyes a little wild, the grin off-base.
In matte black body armor strapped on tight,
he strolls the mall as if he owns the place,
as if it is a job, a joint to case,
as if it is a calling—no, a right—
but there is something missing from his face.
He starts to shoot. It seems like time and space
stand petrified, before the bullets bite.
He strafes the mall as if he owns the place
till death by cop with no crossfire, no chase,
his body dropping in blood sticky bright,
that ugly smile at least wiped off his face.
And spokesmen’s thoughts and prayers clang through the night.
Guns don’t kill people, they insist, despite
the broken bodies scattered every place,
the murdered young girl with a missing face.

Anna M. Evans gained her MFA from Bennington College and has received Fellowships from the MacDowell Artists' Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Rowan College at Burlington County. Her collection Under Dark Waters: Surviving the Titanic is available from Able Muse Press, and her sonnet collection Sisters & Courtesans is available from White Violet Press.