Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

toy gun

While Everything Falls Apart, Imagine How You’ll Teach Your Son About Guns

in Gun Violence/U.S. by

bang, bang, he asks every night, bang, bang,
and you’re dead, wants you to sing in his ear
bang, all the ways we know how to take

each other’s lives and all the tools we’ve made
to help us do it, he forms tiny fists pretending,
already knows his body is enough, bang, bang   

and when you take away his neon water gun,
he cries and throws his head back on the pavement,
bang, all the ways we know how to take

things away from children, to give them
back once they know how to really use them,
bang, bang, he asks every night, bang, bang?

outside your window and on the news,
in the small hands of his friends, their mouths,
bang, all the ways we know how to take

their hands and mouths for granted,
you’re dead, a refrain so familiar it fires
soundlessly, bang, bang, every night, he sings
all the ways we know how to take.  

Texas church shooting: more than two dozen parishioners killed [NBC]
How to once again explain gun violence to kids after Sutherland Springs shooting [Austin 360]

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania where her research focuses on contemporary American poetry about the Holocaust. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and TENT Conferences as well as the Auschwitz Jewish Center. Julia is the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) and her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, and Sixth Finch, among others. Julia is Editor of Construction Magazine and when not busy chasing her toddler around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she also writes a blog about motherhood.

Editorial art by Elle Aviv Newton.

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