Thursday, February 15, 2018

Red is the Bluest Color



Grayscale Photo of Person Holding a Gun


I woke up from a nightmare where I was standing on a street corner during a storm, watching electric poles fall and knock over trees, and trees fall and knock down houses, and I realized my dream was America.

***

Two weeks ago my daughter interviewed my friends about their careers and one friend she interviewed was a mass shooting expert and my daughter asked, “Mom, do you think think that’s appropriate for school?”

I said, “I can’t think of anything more appropriate.”

***

Yesterday my daughter climbed into the car, held her arms out palms flat, and said, “I know, I know, mom. We heard in gym. Can we just enjoy Valentines Day? Don’t turn this into Sandy Hook.”

(Sandy Hook is forever engraved in my children’s memories as the day mommy locked herself in the bathroom and didn’t come out for hours. The Season of Grieving. The Christmas That Wasn’t.)

***

Over sandwiches I told my 11 yr old son, “Kaya, run outside if the shooter is inside and you’re near an exit.”

“What if I’m not near an exit?”

“Then hide behind a locked door.”

“What if the door won’t lock, Mommy?”

“Then make yourself small and stay perfectly still.”

We play Mario World 3D and the mushroom men are chasing us. Kaya’s toad character runs inside a gumdrop tree. “I would hide here if this was real life,” he says.

We change worlds. Now we’re speeding through clear pipes sprinkled with gold coins. “Here, mommy,” Kaya says, jumping into a wall of bricks. “I would hide here.”

“Good, Kaya.”

We’re chasing turtles through the sky. Kaya pops into a rainbow and waves from a cloud. “Am I safe here, Mommy?”

“You’re safe, Kaya.” And I throw fireballs through tears.

***

A child’s death is never a single casualty. A child dies, and a part of the parents die too. A community fractures. The future evaporates. Any weapon that can kill a child is a weapon of mass destruction.

***

American mothers,

each day you send your children to slaughterhouses.

and you pray at the altar of elected officials who advise, “say three Hail Marys and take a Tylenol in the morning.” Thoughts and prayers. Wink, wink. Their cloaks are lined with  human sacrifices, their pockets deep with second amendment rubies, and come reelection time, they’ll clink glasses of champagne with the men who armored the men who butchered your children, while in Florida, 17 angels roam the skies, searching for the cloud behind the rainbow.

American mothers,

Your country is killing your children.

American mothers,

Rise.
Scream.
Yell.

Your voice is more powerful than any weapon.

It is time.
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