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May 2018
The first gun shot was before
lunch period had started

She was sitting in math class
wondering whether she would buy the burger
or the salad
with the three dollars in her pocket
She was doodling on
her math notebook
cartoon cats with flower wreaths

She was studious, never really liked math
had a tiny crush on the boy sitting next to her
and wondered if it would rain today

The first gun shot was before
lunch period had started

Screams erupted in the hallway
Head slammed lockers
as faculty asked students to clean
their wounds
as teachers asked students to tell their spouses
everything they never got to say

Kids hid in cabinets and under desks
covered their faces with backpacks
maybe their binders were more bulletproof
than their skulls

The girl clutched the hand of the boy next to her
and wondered why she could only touch him
right before she was about to die

Neither one thought they’d be staring down
the scope of a gun
looking into a madman’s soul before
lunch period started

As all of the children who were killed on that day
rested in their graves
calculus homework and English assignments
still written as reminders on the palms of their hands
bruised by the locker they hit on their way down

Nations weeped and families sobbed
many thought that their deaths might
be the anthem of change

But all their deaths sparked were
prayers and condolences
an “I’m sorry” and a “That really *****”
as the next madman loaded up his gun
two sorry days later

Sixteen is too young to die

The girl had never driven car
Never knew what it was like to be held
Never knew what it was like to be kissed
Never knew what it was like to be to be told
the world was everything she made it to be

No, the world she lived in was the place
where her peers had to live in fear
not because they didn’t do their homework
but because students might die today

In her grave her mouth was a tight line
childish cheeks and acne-scarred skin
the youth was lost in her eyes because
she lived in a world where her classmates’ blood
was splattered on the school’s linoleum floors

And no one cared enough to do
anything about it
Something must be done.
Madeline Thetard
Written by
Madeline Thetard  16/F/USA
(16/F/USA)   
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