Two Poems


The room was stagnant, the low drones
of voices barely fluctuated,
monotonous around us. Later,
they will tell us we were taught to prepare
for this, it was a sure (fire) way
to prevent casualty/injury\suffering
(school) shootings.

The gunmen wore masks—black—in the wake of Sandy Hook events.
(A drill, they said)
Later, we learned they were (firing) blanks,
only (2) a few, would have lived, even after
the program at the sheriff’s office.

They had gathered us then, to be readied
(fire) in the event that a student would (fire)
bring a gun. They taught us how to handle
the guns, set aside (funds) so we would no longer be
glorified babysitters, but (un)glorified gun-resisters.
Fight (guns with guns), they say, (power with power).
(ready). Hold it steady.
(aim). They say.
(fire). And you’ll be safe.


Mentos and Coke

—Nichole Rued, Wisconsin Rapids, WI