Mourningand I still don't know
what was on your mind,
when the bullet struck,
or if you felt any pain
before you fell
and the world went dark
if there was some sort of peace...
though I've heard it's difficult
to sleep when covered in blood.
but I know now
how precious and fragile a thought can be
when just seconds are the difference
between life and death.
I don't know
if you saw any lights,
or some other kind of angel
coming down for you
I often wonder if you spoke before you died:
your voice is the only part of you
that the world could not chain,
so I'll hold on to the fading
echoes of your words
for as long as I can.
but I know now
what separates sympathy
empathy and pity
and that being sorry for a loss
doesn't make anything better
it never did or will.
I don't know
when the end came or when
ArmedBrendan sat in the back of the class, hunched over his textbook, and when Ilia - Miss Zarga to her students - called on him his voice was so quiet she usually had to ask him to repeat himself.
She didn't need to ask him today: he'd brought a prop.
The prop was very, very effective. All eyes were on Brendan, who like most of the class usually stuck out of clothing handed down from an older sibling. Today, he had made an effort to find things that fit, or rather hung loose, possibly from his father's closet.
She suspected he had also found the 9 millimeter there, although he'd probably learned to use it from movies, TV, the Internet: any child of average intelligence could figure out how to release the safety, and Brendan did better than average in her class more often than not.
"Don't move," he said. "Don't even fucking think about calling anyone." His voice cracked on the curse, Ilia couldn't tell whether from puberty or adrenaline.
A couple of the other kids were crying, trying
Pass It OnYou’ll understand when you’re older.
The amount of times people told me that. The amount of things I’ll never understand. Apart from what it’s like to fire a rifle, I guess…and never getting to say goodbye…
“Hey, boy. Snap out of it – they’re coming back.”
The salt water fizzed through the holes of my shoes and reminded me where I was. The woman beside me and I had been belly-down on the shoreline for long enough that waves had dug a trench under us.
The rattle of less distant gunfire echoed from the crumbling suburb, past our footprints in the sand and over our heads – she looked across and saw me not flinch. It just sounds like crickets to me now.
“I’m sorry, kid – you shouldn’t have been forced to fire one of those things.”
I didn’t know how to respond.
“My dad often said, ‘If you don’t die clean, you had no worth living.’ Another wave splashed away an
Hymn of the FoolIf I were a wise man,
If I was a sage.
I'd live my life not by years,
But the moments that I age.
And if I were a soldier,
If I was that brave.
I'd live my life not by kills,
But the people I had saved.
And if I were a ruler,
If I was a king.
I'd live my life not by my coffers,
But the songs my people sing.
And if I were a priest,
If I was that holy.
I'd live my life not by a book,
But the outcasts who would know me.
Alas, I am a fool.
So let me be naive.
Yet I live my life as all four,
Because I can believe.
kairoson the day we are supposed to meet,
i will be too sad to get out of bed.
destiny will knock insistently on my door, will
stick its head through the opening and call my name,
softly and then louder when i do not respond.
it will pick its way through the chaos of
my bedroom, over shoes and socks and sweaters
i haven’t worn in a week and shake my shoulder.
i will close my eyes and roll over.
i will have eaten too much the day before. i will have not
eaten at all the day before. i will feel like my hands
are only good for dropping second chances on the floor next to
dirty underwear and last week’s failed midterm and half full cups of
cold tea. you will
not love me.
or you will and it will fracture anyway. you will
and it will start out soft and beautiful, and even if
i will not like the way you load the dishwasher, even if you will
not understand why i never let you see me without makeup,
even if we will sleep back to back some nights and none of our friends will