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Grade
12

Sometimes I wonder

if I get to be afraid.

If the tilted glare across the street

should give me fear,

because it isn’t a bullet now, not a pain, not a scream,

just the threat of one.

And the fear of one.

 

And I don’t have to worry

about bullets from soldiers on my street corner

but I have to wonder

where the best place in my classroom is to hide and I

wonder

if being free means being free to be afraid of

being afraid.

 

And I wonder

Do I pity the people who know no different?

Do we know different than the fear of that gun?

Can I fear for a child I’ve never had,

no more than a thought in the back of my mind can I

fear watching their blood run over my fingertips?

Will safety not be so terrifyingly unsafe?

And I am afraid.

But I have never lived through horror.

I’ve never watched my family slaughtered like livestock,

never begged for enough for a mouthful of hope,

never watched my world burn and not know what to hope for

I have never fought a war.

 

Except when classroom floors are the battlefields,

when our too thin walls are the ditches and we can’t hide deep enough

to not feel their blood and the

battle over our heads is screaming and

Is this what fear is supposed to feel like?

Do I get to fear what I will never feel?

 

Is fear children writing on their laptops what to do

if they don’t come home one day,

with the conviction of a person knowing death might be

just behind library walls, writing with better grammar ``````````````````````````````````````

then in the English class they fear will fill with bullets and the

children

as soldiers on an unseen battlefield,

wearing class rings like dog tags,

holding diplomas like discharge papers to finally leave their war,

counting lost souls on shaking hands and do I

get to feel fear for what I haven’t yet lost?

 

Have I really never lost?

I’ve never feared

for my life more than I’ve feared for

my soul, more than I’ve wondered what have we lost

to their mourning wails, but I

wonder

if I would get them killed with one wrong flick of my hand,

if I could survive their bodies on the pavement their blood on my hands and I

think I’ve already lost a war

I haven’t even begun.  

State
CT
Zip Code
06066