Journalism In Verse


Injuries So Dire, One Struggles for Words

in Gun Violence/U.S. by

A small penetrating wound, the election.
At first you think it’s not so bad, then
you turn the patient over and recognize
the blast wave, the accelerating chaos
born of the yaw, the bullet tumbling,
destroying everything in its path—
rivers, canyon lands, school children
legal protections. You see multiple organs
shattered, exit wounds a foot wide,
entire quadrants of abdomens destroyed.
You do what you can, but usually
the patient bleeds out before they reach
the operating theater. If they make it there,
it’s patchwork—amputations, colostomy bags.
Sure, old-style bullets damaged, but
eventually, the bullets were slowed and stopped
by the body politic. These weapons are meant
to kill. Asked about the emotional impact
of treating the victim, first responders say
I thought I had moved on, but with each attack,
it all comes
flooding back.


(text borrowed from “A Clinical View of Assault Rifles and Their Ghastly Toll,” The New York Times – link to online version)


Wounds from military-style rifles? ‘A ghastly thing to see’ [The New York Times]

Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared here as well as in The New Verse News, Rattle, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.

Image by Kevin Baird.

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