America, what will we learn?
a starlit city on the
dawn of October,
burned red with bar signs
and stop lights.
On this night in Sin City
steam rose from the
floor of the concrete jungle.
Predators prowled, prey lurked.
Metal vines swung from construction sites,
sun and moon peered between buildings to cast
light on the animals on the street.
The air was aromatic
in the wake of
Spilled beer, cigarette smoke,
and the stench of sweat wafted
sewage grates and
into the noses of passersby,
residing in the back of their
Fear was absent.
No one feasted their noses on
that metallic stink of blood.
To me it always smelled like cheap rings
that turned my fingers green.
Fear didn’t become the husks of civilians
and peel off like snake skin
or flake off like scales,
it didn’t envelope them in a yellow
cocoon and restrain them,
fear hid behind corners and in alleyways
on the night of
Sunday October 1st,
and waited to pounce.
It’s strange, how much gunshots sound
like the shutter of a camera
or the spark of fireworks.
Maybe as the water began to run
red and the silence began to break
with the sound of gunfire
people thought they were hearing
fireworks in the sky above.
Maybe they looked up to find only the stagnant
water of the blue night.
Maybe they saw the man playing God from
a 32nd floor window.
Maybe that is the last thing they saw.
Terror has taken on an entirely different meaning.
Terror is unprecedented death.
Terror is blood spilled in the name of fear.
Terror is the 23 guns
legally purchased in America
that took the lives of Americans.
Terror is the white man across the street
who no one thinks would ever harm a soul,
and then he kills 58 people.
58 bodies were carried out of Las Vegas
on October 1st.
58 people who were brave enough
to lead their lives in a world where
standing in a crowd is a risk.
58 people are dead.
And what have we learned?
Not to stand in a crowd
and not to forget that death
is imminent at all times.
When will we start teaching our
youth not to pull the trigger
instead of how to avoid becoming
the target of a gun?
what will we learn from Vegas?
What will you learn from the 58
bodies in the ground?
When will you learn?
- Poem by Shannon MacDonald, Sheldon, VT. Read more great writing at youngwritersproject.org.