FIRST — A REMINDER THAT THIS THURSDAY IS D’VERSE OPEN LINK NIGHT AT 3PM EST.
Good evening, Pub Poets, and welcome to Prosery: the prompt where we write prose based on some given lines of poetry. This can be flash-fiction or creative non-fiction, but it cannot exceed 144 words in total (not including the title) and must not be poetry (no versification, line breaks, metre, etc.)
I came across this poem on facebook today and it stopped me in my tracks. I knew this was where I wanted to pull a line from to write prosery with. We can try to ignore it or put it in a convenient little cubby, then pull out and think about when we have a moment or two, but it is not going away. Whether it is Ukranians being murdered in an invasion of their country or little children and adults being snuffed in ongoing mass shootings in the U.S., Poets are in a position to speak truth to atrocity, as we saw last week with Punam’s prompt.
Notes on Uvalde:
The chicken soup in her thermos stayed hot all day while her body grew cold.
She never had a chance to eat the baloney and cheese sandwich. I got up 10 minutes early to cut the crust off a sandwich that will never be eaten.
Should I call and cancel her dental appointment next Wednesday? Will the office automatically know?
Should I still take her brother to the appointment since I already took the day off work? Last time Carlos had one cavity and Amerie asked him what having a cavity feels like.
She will never experience having a cavity.
She will never experience having a cavity filled.
The cavities in her body now are from bullets, and they can never be filled.
What if she had asked to use the bathroom in the hall a few minutes prior to the gunman entering the room, locking the door, and slaughtering all inside?
Was she one of the first kids in the room to die or one of the last?
These are the things they don’t tell us.
Which of her friends did she see die before her?
Did their blood and brains splatter across her Girl Scout uniform?
She just earned a Fire Safety patch.
What if it got ruined?
There are no patches for school shootings.
Was she practicing writing GIRAFFE the moment he walked in her classroom, barricaded the door and opened fire?
She keeps forgetting the silent “e” at the end.
We studied this past weekend, and now she doesn’t need to take the spelling test on Friday.
None of them will take the spelling test on Friday.
There will be no spelling test on Friday.
Because there is no one to give it.
And no one to take it.
These are the things I will never know:
I will never know at what age she would have started her period.
I will never know if she had wisdom teeth.
(Or if they would have come in crooked.)
I will never know who she spoke to last. Was it the teacher? Was it her table partner, George? She says George is always talking, even during silent reading.
Did she even scream?
She screamed the lyrics to We Don’t Talk About Bruno at 7:58 AM as she hopped out of my car in the circle drive.
She always sings the Dolores part, her sister sings Mirabel and I’m Bruno.
“And I wanted you to know that your bro loves you so
Let it in, let it out, let it rain, let it snow, let it goooooo……..”
Did the killer ever see Encanto?
Could we have sat in the same row of seats, on the same day, munching popcorn?
What if Amerie brushed past him in the aisle? Did she politely say, “Excuse me,” to the boy who would someday blow her eye sockets apart?
Was he chomping on bubble gum as he destroyed them all?
If so, what flavor?
Was the radio on as he drove to massacre them? Or did he drive in silence?
Was the sun in his eyes as he got out of the car in the parking lot?
Did his pockets hold sunglasses or just ammunition?
These are the things I will never know.
There is laundry in the dryer that is Amerie’s.
Clothes I never need to fold again.
Clothes that are right now warmer than her body.
How will I ever be able to take them out of the dryer and where will I put them if not back in her dresser?
I can never wash clothes in that dryer again.
It will stand silent; a tomb for her pajamas and knee socks.
Her cousin’s graduation party is next month and I already signed her name in the card. Should I cross it out?
That will be the last card I ever sign her name to.
The dog will live longer than she will.
The dog will be 12 next month and she will be eternally 10.
What will the school do with her backpack?
It was brand new this year and she attached her collection of keychains like cherished trophies to its zipper.
A beaded 4 leaf clover she made on St. Patty’s Day.
A red heart from a Walk-a-Thon.
A neon ice cream cone from her friend’s birthday party.
Now there will be no more keychains to attach.
No more trophies.
Surely they can’t throw it out?
Would they throw them all out?
19 backpacks, full of stickered assignments and rainboots, all taken to the dumpster behind the school?
Is there even a dumpster big enough to contain all that life?
These are the things someone else knows:
The moment the semiautomatic rifle was put into his hands–was “Bring Me a Higher Love” playing in the gun store? “Get off my Cloud” by the Rolling Stones? Maybe it was Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”
Did the Outback Oasis salesperson hesitate as they slid him 375 rounds of ammunition?
not my problem my kids are grown and out of school
Or I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to worry about their skulls getting blown across the naptime mat
Or fingers crossed there’s a good guy with an equally powerful gun that will stop this gun if needed
Did they sense any danger or were they more focused on picking that morning’s Raisin Bran out of their teeth?
My Nana used to say, “Pay attention to what whispers, and you won’t have to when it starts screaming.”
But now I know there is a more deafening sound than children screaming.
More horrific even, than automatic rifles on a Tuesday morning.
I beg the world:
Pay attention to what’s screaming today, or be forced to endure the silence that follows.
For today’s Prosery prompt, the line is:
These are the things they don’t tell us.
– Girl Du Jour, from Notes on Uvalde
You are under no obligation to write to atrocity. Please use the quote as you will. I’m really looking forward to seeing your work today.
Here’s how to take part in the Prosery Prompt:
• Write a piece of flash fiction or other prose up of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line from the poem.
• Post your Prosery piece on your blog and link back to this post.
• Place the link to your actual post (not your blog url) on the Mister Linky page.
• Please visit other blogs and comment on their posts!
Girl Du Jour
Greetings Poet Pubsters. It’s Lisa here, hosting today’s Prosery prompt and ready to serve you your favorite refreshments.
A REMINDER THAT THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 9, IS OUR LIVE OPEN LINK NIGHT. PLEASE DROP IN AT 3PM EST TO JOIN IN WITH LIVE READINGS OF OUR POETRY AND TO SHARE IN THE WARMTH OF COMMUNITY.
Thank you for hosting. What a gutwrenching poem and photo here. Every single day….it continues. And for Sandy Hook parents and now the Uvalde parents, and Columbine parents and too many others, it never goes away.
It was a respite to lose myself in the Queen’s Jubilee festivities and watch Prince Louis’ antics.
Welcome, Lillian. Sometimes it’s good to get lost in something other than reality.
Wow, what a poem! I feel a bit guilty that I couldn’t match it in subject or emotional power.
Welcome, Sarah. I really don’t know if it is possible to do so, so please, no worries…
Thank you for hosting, Lisa. What a poem! Gut-wrenching is right.
There was yet another shooting on Saturday night. This time in Philadelphia when lots of people were enjoying the nightlife. It appears it started with a fight–and this being America, the guys involved had guns.
Welcome, Merril. The poem was traumatizing to read and knowing it is only a speck of the trauma those who experienced it through loved ones dying/surviving. I heard about that Philadelphia one and then one in Tulsa, and others also. It is getting to be daily occurence. I thought if each reading can connect to one specific victim and feel deep empathy for her, they might be motivated to act to stop the madness, as Lillian suggested in her poem.
hi dverse poets
what a poem to share hit me hard as a parent and yes it did make me cry.
this prompt got me thinking how lucky I am to live in a country without war and gun laws that allow the killing of our own children. sorry American poets as an English man I find your right to bear arms repulsive.
Welcome, Rog. You know Americans have grown up with weapons in our homes, on our streets, and saturating our media for so long, it was little more than a bit concerning when the occasional mass shooting happened. It seems like things have gone nuts since covid, where our people have been stressed beyond their capacity to cope. Too many are turning to weapons for what I’ll call “relief” or “suicide by police.” WHY do they have to kill innocent children when they do it? The title of today’s dVerse is where I’m at with it now. HOW MANY MORE before we stop the madness.
hopefully not to many more! good luck to our American cousins sorting it out.
❤ Thanks we need all of the luck we can get.
As an American, I find our gun laws repulsive as well. WHAT justification is there to sell or own an AK47 rifle which is an assault weapon? What part of the word “assault” do US senators and representatives who take big bucks from the NRA not understand? sigh….my blood pressure just went up.
Love and peace to all
I am right there with you. No one needs an assault rifle.
Oh Wow, Lisa! You really took us to heartbreak and tears on this one! So very sad in every situtation where these atrocities occur. I think I need a cup of Kindness today!
Welcome, Dwight. My heart is heavy about all of the senseless killing going on. Is there any rationale that could possibly be good enough to justify it? NO. Kindness emanating across the planet would be an excellent start in neutralizing the madness. One Tall Glass of Kindness for You. Cheers!
Thank you, Lisa. It is overwhelming for me to even try to comprehend how all this happens.
Hi Lisa :)…thank you for hosting and for offering this heart wrenching poem. I so appreciate the approach that she took with it. Just left me speechless. I am so done with the ridiculousness of politics over lives in the U.S. and I’m sure this oozes through my prose today.
Welcome, Mish. My pleasure on hosting but such a feeling of sorrow that such a topic even needs to be considered. “Politics over Lives” is its essence you’re right. Heading to poetry trail now to read your prosery.
phillip woodruff said:
that poem is just absolutely heart wrenching… i don’t know what else to say
A REMINDER THAT THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 9, IS OUR LIVE OPEN LINK NIGHT. PLEASE DROP IN AT 3PM EST TO JOIN IN WITH LIVE READINGS OF YOUR POETRY AND TO SHARE IN THE WARMTH OF COMMUNITY.
Lisa, is there a Facebook link or a Share option… the world needs to read this poem. It is heartbreaking, sobering, terrifying, a love poem.
Helen, look at the link just under the Mr. Linky button. If you click on it it will (should!) take you to the author’s fb page. You might have to scroll down a bit to find the poem. I found it there last week, so that should help with the date.
wow that was a real tear jerker Lisa, appreciate the poignant share … your video is not working/available!
Thank you, Kate. Sorry about the video. Try to watch it at youtube here:
how interesting … I can watch/listen to their entire 1 hour 36 minute concert but I cannot get access to that one section! Handsome and talented 😉
Rob Kistner said:
Hi Lisa — and happy summer all! 😎 Thanks for hosting Li! What you posted here is very moving indeed. It is such a sad sad situation. 😟 Now that my most recent heart operation appears to have been successful, I am going to spend the summer working out four days a week, and generally engaging in activities to reclaim my stamina, to the degree I am able. My writing and reading will be less frequent, and lighter in nature — so I can nurture my positive, restorative attitude. I won’t be contributing today, but I will be in and with posted links now through this Fall, and reading my fellow poets when I can. Peace and love poets… ✌🏼❤️
Welcome, Rob. Bravo! on your operation’s success and your plan for a healthful summer. There is something to be said for a plan geared towards health. I really hope you are planning on taking your grandson to that clearing in the forest at some point…
Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing said:
That was so hard to read Lisa. I am speechless and heartbroken 💔
Yes, Christine 😦
Tricia Sankey said:
Powerful read! I look forward to reading everyone’s take on the prompt over the next few days, I’ve been traveling but finding time for a bit of writing today!
Welcome, Tricia. Glad you found time to visit the pub and to write to the prompt. Happy travels to you.
Sherry Marr said:
Oh my goodness. This poem puts the horror into words as powerfully as it can be said. I am glad I got to read it…….thanks for sharing. I cant seem to find words for this devastation and am further shocked by how many shootings occurred this past weekend. Stay safe, and as sane as you can, friends. These are tough times.
Welcome, Sherry. Thank you for your benevolence ❤
Awesome job hosting. So very moving!!
Welcome, Pat. My pleasure on hosting.
Thanks for sharing this Jade. I don’t know how anyone could convey the senselessness of our inaction on guns any better.
I will get to this prompt at some point, but not sure when. I’m running around in circles these days. (K)
Welcome, Kerfe. I agree with you. She covers all of the bases with it. No worries on getting to it, my friend ❤
thank you, Jade. Like all of us, I am undone ~
Welcome, M. Felt and understood.
Many adjectives come to mind, but they all seem inadequate. Thank you for sharing this Lisa.
Welcome, Marion, and you are welcome.
a.h. starlingsson said:
Lovely prompt, and very moving..
Welcome, Ain. Glad you are here.
Sobering and powerful Lisa. Thank you for the deep dive into this whole mess. I need a double whiskey.
Welcome, Paul. Thank you very much, I see a lot of “thoughts and prayers” floating around but not a lot of processing. This was a chance for others to do some. Lining up four shots, two for you and two for me. Cheers, my friend.
Cheers Lisa, yes sad state of affairs when process lags.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Hello… sorry for not participating yesterday… it was the Swedish National day and it was like a Sunday…
Bjorn, no worries. Maybe you can write something for it for OLN? You’ve been writing to this topic (senseless violence) for a bit now, so if you don’t that’s OK also…
Sorry, I’m very late at writing to this prompt. Thank you for hosting and sharing this soul stirring poem, thanks. 🙂
Welcome, Kitty! No worries on being late. Glad you made it. Will go read your offering right now 🙂
Thanks a lot, Li. 🙂
Pingback: 14 June: dVerse Prosery – It's Still Life