When a child hears gunshots,
she will say Mom is beating
the pots and pans. She will say
It sounds like home. Let’s keep it
this way; our children
misinterpreting the sound of dying
as a crude percussion.
When they kneel at their beds
and ask god where he was
when their best friend stopped
being alive he will say
I was at the drive-thru,
I was so hungry I thought the gunshots
were my stomach begging for food.
He will say I know nothing
until strangers tell me about it first,
I could have bullet wounds in my hands
and I’d know nothing about what hurts
and doesn’t hurt. What a god; making
the world out of variations of madness,
refusing to hold its face in his hands
and saying You, you are mine.
It is not ours: the young blood,
the unfinished drawings,
the last blurry thoughts before a world
goes black. When god is busy wiping grease
from his mouth, we can stand in a line
with the dead in our backpacks,
next to our pencils and our snacks;
he won’t notice when
we give the whole damned world back.