By Cristina Santamaría Graff
Dedicated to those whose lives were taken in a moment of anguish, confusion, and rage at Parkland High School on February 14, 2018.
In honor of surviving students who have armed themselves with fierce love to speak out against gun legislation that has set the stage for immense violence against humanity.
she runs into my embrace.
Trembling, her fists pound my back,
more like raindrops than hail, they are
expressions rather than deliverers of pain.
They bring comfort to her unsettled heart,
POUND, Pound, pound…
“Shhhhhhh, quiet now. The gunfire is over.”
they shield her face,
hands cover her ears.
“I can hear the screaming,” she mouths.
they carry notebooks and pens,
extra paper for José, a calculator for Bella.
Dry erase marker etchings line my forearms and fingertips,
once again forgetting to cap the tops.
They dole out high-fives,
handshakes at the classroom door, Kleenex, wipes, stickers, fist bumps, and hugs.
to show, to demonstrate, to examine, to analyze, to assess, to teach.
full of fire and misplaced rage.
You project your despair on the innocent,
You know no other way.
Your arms aim and shoot,
the more the better – this is your plan.
in the air, on the floor, under the desks,
They are just arms, another target to shoot at.
AR-15s – powerful, mighty, righteous.
They become God.
You are the messenger, the deliverer of pain.
now hang nonchalantly at your side.
They buy you a drink at Subway.
What arms do we bear?
What arms us?
What do we choose to be armed with?
Are we bearers of fear?
Do we arm ourselves with love?
Can we bear our own truths, our own fears?
Can we bear the reality we are creating?
our minds, our hearts, our consciousness.
We have the right to bear TRUTH,
to confront the lies,
to stand up for each other,
to live and choose LOVE.
They can write new beginnings.