I remember newspapers for a week filled with grisly details,
journalists flooding our city like vampires in search of storied blood
I remember crying all day on my twenty-first birthday,
the tears permanent streaks of worry on my cheeks.
I remember thinking, How can I become a teacher now?
and also, Nothing could be worse than this.
I remember that it was ten miles from my home,
with faces just like my own now plastered on screens across the world.
I remember thinking that it could never happen again,
that with this media spotlight on the atrocity, it wouldn’t.
I remember my first lockdown, two years later,
kids huddled alongside me under desks like rats in a sewer.
I remember the silent votes of every white man and woman
in charge of our devolving society that grips guns like lifeblood.
I remember clutching my six-year-old child for hours
after twenty of her American peers were murdered
for the love of the Second Amendment.
I remember living in Spain where the scariest sound
was an infantile firecracker celebrating El Día de San Juan
and every door was open for the world to walk into
what it might be like to Not. Be. Afraid.
I remember when I once believed that someone would shout,
Enough is enough! and Congress would listen
instead of filling their pockets with NRA dollars.
I remember my high school in the ‘bad neighborhood,’
before a police officer stood at the door,
before I’d ever heard the word lockdown,
before I even knew what we would become.