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Tuesday, June 18, 2024


by Michelle DeRose

Alan Gratz’s “Ban This Book” tells the tale of a fourth-grader’s quest to bring her favorite book back to the school library after officials had it removed. Late last month, a Florida school district banned “Ban This Book.” A parent involved in Moms for Liberty, a right-wing parents-rights group, submitted a complaint about the book in February, alleging that it depicted sexual conduct and was “teaching children to be social justice warriors.” Though a school district committee recommended that “Ban This Book” be kept on shelves, the Indian River County school board voted to ban it last month. —The Washington Post, June 13, 2024

So thin bands of women who love 
liberty (because their heads-of-households 
told them to) banned the book 
Ban This Book. If words don’t build it, 
it never happened. Scrub climate change
from state websites and Florida’s coast 
rises like Lazarus. Certain words, like loaves
and fishes, work double miracles. 
With no gender queers, some gun 
violence disappears in a pulse. 
Requiring proof of rape for abortions 
erases abortion and rape with a stranger’s
magic wand that, waved in a yard,
transforms twelve year-olds to the most noble
profession. They might wed NFL stars,
be the next to erase abuse in their world,
just a giant pink rubber in their clutch.

Michelle DeRose is Professor Emerita of English from Aquinas College. She lives and writes in Grand Rapids, Michigan.