How Do We Go On

in Gun Violence by

The violence is at our back door now
or perhaps it’s always been.

Three hundred seven out of three hundred eleven
is the number of shootings they’re saying

in so many days.
This morning I take a hot salt bath,

text friends. “My first line dance
was at that bar.”

I sit there, my naked knees growing cold
while a mother, somewhere, rocks the emptiness

in her arms because that’s all that’s left to her
to do. I get dressed, put on my coat,

walk to the front door.
How do we go on as though

each day is not a mine we walk into,
when the question is no longer if, but where?

What else can we do; how would we know
any different way, we

who have only ever walked straight through
that mine and lived, who have never not returned

to our doorways,
our lives trailing behind us

like some shaking dog
who had sensed what we could not

but followed us when we called to it
out of love, or something worse.



Thousand Oaks makes 307 mass shootings in 311 days [USA Today]
Thousand Oaks parent: ‘I don’t want thoughts. I don’t want prayers. I want gun control.’ [The Washington Post]

Alexandra Donovan is a poet, teacher, and chaplain. She received her BA from Stanford University and her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Alexandra’s writing has appeared in Pirene’s Fountain, Selfish Magazine, Ruminate, Gyroscope Review, Presence Journal, Poets Reading the News, and others. Her first chapbook, Mother Stump, was released by Yak Press in August 2018. She writes from various coffee shops in Fort Collins, Colorado.