Journalism In Verse


“What’s Wrong with This Picture?”

in Gun Violence/U.S. by

My mother and I played it in the Sunday Funnies:
The traffic cop standing on top of the lake!
The elephant sliding gracefully into second base!
A fish flying a yellow kite! Though my mother would often say,
Go fly a kite when I uttered something utterly ridiculous like,
I’ve got nothing to do on a beautiful, breezy day.

I never played this silly game with my daughter
though she and I could, if we’d only watch the news:
An AR-15 goes stealthily to church in a tiny Texas town!
A Home Depot truck barrels down a bike path not far from our home!
A faceless man above an open field makes targets
of those who only want some song.

I must confess these wrongs are all my doing,
dear one, though it was never my intent.
No matter that our people say, Tikkun olam, repair the world,
this is the one I’ve made and now leave in your care–
everything out of place, and so nearly out of time,
but, oh, how easy for you to identify.


Terror in Northern California as gunman goes on rampage, kills 5 [Los Angeles Times]
Vegas, New York and Texas. Why Do We Shrug Off Mass Killings? [Newsweek]

Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College and St. John’s University in New York.  His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing.  Go to for more poems and further information.

Photo by Annie Spratt.

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