Thoughts and Prayers and Guns
SUNY Jefferson
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Thoughts and Prayers and Guns

Kenyon Wells

After the muzzle flashes
like rapid mini red lightning bolts
stop burning the innocent air;
after the shell casings stop bouncing
like brass tacks tossed across the floor,
innocent bodies lie bloody and still and dead;
innocent bodies lie bloody and writhing and screaming.
After yet again the monster is neutralized
by SWAT or by its own hand,
other innocent bodies come out from hiding,
timidly at first and staggering,
like the toddlers they once were,
hands clasped to faces white as sheets,
mouths open, voices mute,
others shouting, sobbing and keening.
After this, some stop suddenly to kneel
not in prayer but to touch or hug
or look briefly into the tortured eyes
of a friend or stranger or a brother or a sister.
And after this they rush here and there to escape
the horror of death that they will never unsee,
fleeing to the out of doors
where the idea of safety awaits
until another day when it doesn’t.
After all this, across this land of freedom,
the right to bear arms,
will remain sacrosanct.
Sense and responsibility,
will remain without enumeration.
After all this and yet again,
we will be left with…
thoughts and prayers and guns.