Chalk lines on pavement once meant hopscotch;
now, they outline the bodies.
Orphaned backpacks of bulletproof fabrics litter the vibrant halls,
while the children line up in clouds to get fitted for angel wings.
On the wall: “NOTICE: Heaven is running low on size ‘7T'”
A little girl wonders if they come in a pony theme…
As a nation, paralyzed and divided, we mourn side-by-side.
Together, we avoid eye contact… but let insults fly.
He said, she said, “It’s your fault, not mine!”
While caregivers, leaders, and teachers refuse compromise,
the children are soaring up into the sky.
I originally wrote this on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting 2 years ago… and never had the nerve to edit and publish it as I didn’t want to trigger anyone or bring up politics in a place I use for escapism. I don’t feel that way today.
I think it’s easy for us as a nation, and even us as individuals, to forget how strongly we felt about this tragedy and many like it. With the constant onslaught of tragedy and catastrophe brought on daily by social media, and with how simple it is to read a headline and click away, we’re training ourselves to move on from horror so quickly that we risk never gaining the opportunity to let these horrors truly sink in. Discomfort is a bad word now, and if you feel it, you’re encouraged more to run away from the problem and look at something else, than you are to stand your ground, become enveloped by it’s disgusting, uncomfortable existence, and let that discomfort fuel your efforts to make a difference.
Banners fly high on profile frames, twitter feeds, and personal descriptions – but those banners are meaningless, so long as we keep looking away from their meaning out of fear of being uncomfortable. We need, instead, to encourage each other to look directly at the problem long enough to fully mourn it’s presence every time it comes up so that we can start the process of building resolve. I don’t care if you call yourself an activist on Facebook if you’re still hiding from news stories that make your stomach turn.
We need to remember that change is slow and it can’t keep up with how quickly our attention is encouraged to shift. It’s up to us as individuals to hold on to the discomfort and let it strengthen and mold us so that we can be the influencers, idols, and perpetuators of change. Once everyone can do that, we can start solving these tragedies one-by-one, rather than ignoring them and letting the body count rise.