Jul 30
poem challenge: Writing 2022

More American


the flag dangled down,
flowed in stripes of red and white;
the children gathered around,
admired the stars, which embroidered
a dull navy blue of the night.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag . . .”
–but what exactly were they 
promising, vowing, encouraging to do–
she wondered,
as the voices molded like clay.

the bullets preceded a silence,
a stillness that could be felt from afar.
the gunshots that poured down with violence
like a cluster of raindrops,
crashing upon the windows of a car.

it was a flurry of heavy walking
that echoed from the higher floors,
classmates which jostled and talked–
“Wow, the intruder drill is so realistic today!”
–she forced her way through the doors.

she hid;
crouched behind the bookshelf;
her parents needed to know, amid
the crisis at hand,
that she was in danger, all by herself.

the possibility that this was all a drill,
eliminated once the liquid crimson
from the boy’s neck, it poured and spilled.
the essence of vitality drained;
fear permeated, the shooter was in.

the girl she hid behind,
every muscle in her body released tension.
as anguish filled her mind.
she followed the dead body to the floor
with every move she paid close attention.

the only thing that stood between
her and the door to her death
in this gruesome, harrowing scene:
the cold, lifeless body of her once dear friend.
she held her breath.

she thought of Uvalde, Sandy Hook, 
of Parkland, Columbine, and Santa Fe. 
but only think, she couldn’t look.
here, who was more american? she or the
gun that killed so many on this fateful day.