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Tuesday, April 23, 2024


by Kelley White

Philadelphia toddler dies after shooting herself in the eye with father’s unsecured gun: police. —New York Post, April 8, 2024

But I don’t want to give her name
or the specifics of her case. I don’t want
to invade her family’s privacy. They have already
suffered more than I can imagine. Worse, I’m a grandmother, I can
imagine it. Have imagined it. Have seen other children 
shot. So many. Too many. I will not list their names or ages
only, imagine, this one shot by his brother over a video
game, this one shot by his friend during a game
of spin-the-bottle, this one ‘playing,’ this one
angry for a moment. This one whose grandmother
claimed the gun was safe. Oh, my dear ones
how much I imagine. I see your five year
old hands wrapped around the barrel.
I see the gun tossed casually on a
couch cushion, the gun left on top
of the refrigerator. The gun
on the dashboard of the
abandoned car. I hear
the shots, sometimes,
when I leave the clinic
for lunch. I see the 
crossing guard so
careful with her
charges at the
school just down
the road. I see
the children’s
faces. Their
hands on 
a trigger, 
my own 

Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in Philadelphia and New Hampshire. Poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent chapbook is A Field Guide to Northern Tattoos (Main Street Rag Press.) Recipient of 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant she is Poet in Residence at Drexel’s Medical School. Her newest collection, No. Hope Street, was recently published by Kelsay Books.