Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


A Taste of Garlic

in Gun Violence by

At the sound that is
not firecrackers,

reports begin to come
in. It’s local time, late

afternoon in California.
Children are fleeing

an inflatable slide,
mothers and fathers,

grandmothers, too,
fanning out in search

of hiding spots
behind tents, in food

booths, anywhere
the shooter is not.

It’s “Go! Go! Go!”
electric highway signs

flashing motorists’ way
to Gilroy Garlic Festival,

“the world’s greatest
summer food festival”

suddenly become another
active crime scene.

Santino William Legan,
19, camouflaged, assault

-rifle in hand, shoots
left to right, right to left,

his spray of bullets
that nightmare that

nobody can imagine,
even after 31,983

gun-violence incidents
in America this year.

Security officers
already on the scene

“engaged the suspect
in less than a minute,”

Gilroy’s police chief
afterward explains.

But he can offer
no motive, cannot

assure the relatives
of eleven wounded

their loved ones will
get better. And no,

he has no answer
for Alberto Romero

father of six-year-old,
Stephen, who “had

his whole life to live”
and now must be

laid to rest, never
having once tasted

garlic ice cream.



Maureen Doallas has published work at Rattle’s Poets Respond, Every Day Poems, and other periodicals and is anthologized most recently in “The Dreamers” and “A Constellation of Kisses.” She is the editor of Artist Watch at Escape Into Life. Her debut collection is “Neruda’s Memoirs.”


At least 3 dead in California garlic festival shooting

Mass Shootings in 2019
[Gun Violence Archive]

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