We were white.
Affluent and white.
So it wasn't a concern for us at first.
We stayed away from the inner city center,
Hung to the frayed (fraid) edges of the suburbs.
Then Columbine occurred.
That got our attention. A little.
Then [insert town]
Then [insert name]
We started to worry.
But nothing seemed to change.
We kept going to the mall.
They started shooting up the mall.
We kept going to see our doctors.
They started shooting at their offices.
Do you remember Gabby Giffords
Getting shot in the head
And the way her colleagues failed
To respond in an adequate measure?
Do you remember when that killer
Gunned down twenty kids
And the country rolled over and went back to sleep?
I kept wondering
When something positive might happen
When would our tears manifest into action
I wanted to help in some way
But I felt insignificant and small
Just a tiny little poet
Clinging to a pebble in an ocean
Surrounded by waves of righteous rage
Still, I knew I had to do my job
So I began to imagine
What might have happened
If someone had taken an AK aim
At the recently visiting Pope?
Would international scorn make us shift our laws?
(Ha - nope).
Or what if armed men stormed the Capitol steps
And took out the lot of those we'd chosen
To help make our country better (safer?!)
What if the one behind the sealed podium
Met the violent end so many must daily wish for him
What if his daughters?
What if your daughter?
I didn't want any of this -
Not the horrible all that came before,
Nor these terrible hypotheticals
And also, too
I wasn't a very good poet
But I did keep trying
To imagine a time in which we realized
We the people
Were the only ones with the power to change...
And then - yes! - God, come on!! - we finally did.