“Dear Dana Loesch,” an interactive poem by Rachael Shay Button

CW: gun violence

Dear Dana Loesch,

Today
while you
tweet,
Parkland
students
return:
retrieve backpacks
cell phones,
windbreakers,
water bottles,
chapstick,
math books.
Return
to classrooms
where they sat
silent
in supply closets
eyes adjusting
to dark
ears tuned
to the sound
of breath
of

shots.

Dear Dana Loesch,

You kept your kids away
from public school
homeschooled
opposed testing standards
wrote
Mamalouges
about raising your babies unrushed.

Your children got to start slow
lessons on the living room rug
lunch at the kitchen table.

In Parkland parents

got text messages—
I’m not going to make it,

In Parkland parents

closed coffins
lowered bodies
into earth.

Dear Dana Loesch,

You say, Hands off
my gun.
Posed for the
cover of your book
wearing a red dress and heels
cradling an AR-15.

The same weapon that shot 17 in Parkland.

Rifle whose bullet travels 3 X
faster than a handgun,
leaving a cavity of displaced tissue
several inches from its path

The exit wound can be the size of an orange

Picture the fruit in your hand,
the holes in their bodies:

too big for thoughts and prayers to fill.

Dear Dana Loesch,

When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold
used two 9 mm firearms and two 12-gauge shotguns
to murder 

12 students and one teacher

I was in 7th grade, 

a student 
at a public school
outside Detroit,
You were 21, 
with a just-born
baby.

It’s been 19 years,
I’ve spent 18 of those years in the classroom
student, then teacher.
I count every year no gun goes off 

lucky

but how long will it be before I find myself
at the wrong end of the barrel?

Dear Dana Loesch,

I heard your response
to Emma Gonzalez  

Her question:
Do you believe it should be harder
to obtain semi-automatic

weapons and the modifications to make them fully automatic
like bump stocks?

Your answer: not an answer.

Something about the federal government,
about motherhood, and this:
I was also a politically active teenager,
and I’m on
this stage because of that
think of how far you
could all go
by voicing your beliefs

Maybe you wanted
to soften blows
but woman-to-woman,
let’s talk:

There is nothing
you can say
to unbreak hearts

to unlive hours hiding in homeroom closets
unhear the sound of classmates dying.
Do not silence these shouts.
Do not dodge these questions.

Do you really think this
young woman who stands straight
and speaks truth,
wants
to be 
you?

An NRA spokeswoman.

A voice for an America divided 
between an us and a them?

We call BS.

 

 

***

Rachael Shay Button is a writer, a teacher, an activist, and a place-based educator. Her essays and poems have appeared in PANK, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Collagist, Creative Nonfiction, Diagram, and Redivider, among other journals. She can be found online at: rachaelshaybutton.wordpress.com.

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