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Friday, February 09, 2024


by Jennifer Schneider

Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the teenager who killed four students pictured above—Madiyson Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Justin Shilling, 17; and Hana St. Juliana, 14—at an Oxford, Michigan, high school in 2021, was found guilty Tuesday of all four counts of involuntary manslaughter in a novel legal case that stood as a test of the limits of who’s responsible for a school shooting. CNN, February 6, 2024

that could have, should have,
been different—

the swish of a three-point shot. shooting stars, solar eclipses. the journey from girl to woman. 
balding men. camera flashes. grilled cheese on slices of Wonder. plucked daffodils. pinches of 
salt. something borrowed. something blue. wedding vows. bare feet on sand. morning waltzes. 

a day, anew.

dimes in jukebox machines. campouts under moonlit skies. crabbing on summer days. a Beatles’
whistle. yellow jackets on lavender petals. the semester’s last exam. anticipation of the daily 
mail. Billy Joel on the radio. parked sedans. Sunday drives with no destination.
birthday wishes.
candle wax. solar lights. hoops at midnight. blueberry-scented cravings at dawn. whole-grain
muffins before flight takeoff. puddle splashes. watercolor paints in tiny pots. a manual typewriter 
retrieved from a lost and found. the clang of bowling pins. green leaves. Ladybugs on sleeves. 
oversized football jerseys. soiled laundry awaiting freshly scented soaking.  
mugs of strawberry lemonade. promises handknit for safekeeping.
unfinished paperbacks. romances with happily-ever-after endings.
untied Converse laces. tied knots and coffee-fueled conversation.
scattered pumpkin seeds. rainbow kites. diaries with tiny keys.
lullabies sung off-key to future generations. goodnight kisses.
all the things
that could have, should have,
been different—

there was no interception —

a blank canvas. multiple strikes.
bullets lodged in metal hoops.
unrepairable tears. no spares.

shooting stars
amidst recurring nightmares.

of all the things,
that could have, should have
been different,

none were spared

Jennifer 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.