Chalk tallies on the board

Chalk outlines on the floor

The grisly math


Doesn’t add up

The sum

Is more than we can bear.

The right to bear arms

Is the sum of us.

The second is the first

King of the Republic

Its assassins' sight set on us.

The scope of history

Nowhere to hide

When you’re always within range.

A dark theater

Will not conceal you

A church, mosque, synagogue

Hell on Earth

When the symbol of your religion

Is a crosshair.

Every school

A target

And all we have

Are words

Thoughts and prayers —


Aimed at guns

Themselves wrapped in Kevlar and cowardice,

The latter,


The same lesson

Taught every year

A subject we know

But still fail the test.

And so the tally marks grow

The chalk outline

Drawn around a body

Its shape

A nation.



It’s my birthday,

I don’t need a card,

Or tickets to a play,

No money please,

Or art for the yard.

I have one wish,

And it is this…

Say gay,

During the month of May.

Say gay,

To counter all the hate.

Say gay,

Coming from the Sunshine State.

Say gay,

While drinking a cabernet,

At a chalet,

With your fiancé.

Say gay,

While watching Bobby Flay.

Say gay,

While you belay.

Say gay,

While driving a Chevrolet.

Say gay,

Don’t obey.

Say gay,

It’s really not risque.

Say gay,

To Ron DeSantis.


Say gay,

He can kiss all the asses.

Say gay,

While eating a Benet,

While watching the film “JFK,”

While taking a survey,

While wearing a toupee,

While getting an x-ray.

Say gay,

In your house,

Or the home of Mickey Mouse.

Say gay,


It’s okay,

To say gay.



Gun turns on the bathroom light and appraises itself in the bathroom mirror before washing the wet blood from its barrel. Gun thinks about last night and weeps. Bullets drop like bodies from its open chamber and ricochet off the sink. Gun visits its therapist where it talks about its violent past and its life growing up in America, the child of absent parents. Gun comes to murder the guilt, to be told that it doesn’t kill people. Afterward, gun heads to school. Later, gun thinks, I’ll catch a movie.