Sacrificial social issues scatter,
then rise again like mist
mirrored upon the tattered banks of now
reflecting the vast underbellies
of skirted straw dogs.
Raw over Sandy Hook,
the media spins its guns,
opening fire on our right to bear arms.
Opening fire on victims
the scales of justice blindly allow
insanity as defense
and edge people out of jail free
attempting to rehabilitate them
to rid them of a desire to annihilate lives.
Opening fire on human dignity,
the dental hygienist,
with hands in my mouth,
curves me this ball, “You know,
Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook shooter) had
Those kids need a school of their own.
They shouldn’t be with our kids.”
She scrapes my teeth with stainless steel.
“We have one in our town, you know,
a kid with Asperger’s. He knows everything
about guns. It’s all he talks about.”
She shines my teeth with minty polish.
“We’ve got this girl, too.
Her brain grew too big for her head or something,
so they had to crack her skull open.
She’s nice and everything, but she wears a helmet.
She could go to that school, too.
We can consolidate these kids
from all the rural communities
and bus them to that school.
They could all be together.”
I close my eyes and keep my metaphorical mouth shout,
waiting until my literal mouth is free from her hands
before opening fire.
Outside, a bell tower chimes reminding me that holiness
is always peering just around the curtain’s edge.
Brenda Warren 2013
I wrote the first stanza, then read it several times and mulled it over. Eventually, it lead me to the rest of the piece. I did try to educate my dental hygienist after the cleaning. She lives in a community about 45 miles out of our town. Her ideas may not change, but she listened and we had a respectful conversation. A little piece at a time… a little peace at a time.
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