Bio Note: I am a poet and writer living in the Chicago area. Though we do see violence in the city, I was appalled speechless by the Uvalde tragedy. My heart goes out to the family of the victims. You can read more of my poetry at: www.caroline-johnson.com.
Everyone is banging on drums of different sizes some with mallets some with bare hands some together, drumming a slow vibration of peace, some departing into an explosion of snare solos The next day, an 18-year-old lonely dropout Shoots up Uvalde Elementary School in Texas. 19 children, 2 teachers dead A woman strikes a metal bowl as if it is a wind chime ricochets off a breeze on a lonely lake but we are not lonely we are a new tribe. Box of ammo ordered online Black duffel bag 2 assault rifles bought legally for his 18th birthday The bell chimes again, mist on the lake of my mind our eyes remain closed bongos, djembe, snare, tambourine offer a sort of prayer Nicknamed “school shooter” Bullied for his speech impediment Cared for by his grandmother She was shot first in the face Opening my eyes I see a giant window, a wooden cross in its center the drumbeats are chanting louder and louder we are strangers, but we play together a new tribe. Worked the day shift at Wendy’s Long hair, goth garb, he cut up His face with knives, warned strangers Of his plans on social media, some In Germany, all far away. He shot More than 100 rounds in 4 minutes. If only our drumbeats could reach all the way from Chicago to Texas, whisper in the ear of Salvador Ramos, invite him to join us in community. Uvalde High School graduates, wearing red robes, Visited the elementary school just one day before, High fiving the grade schoolers, wishing them well, welcoming them to the future, a new tribe.
©2022 Caroline Johnson
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