if i die of gun violence By Sarah Waring

if i die of gun violence

If I die of gun violence
I want my funeral to be a rally.
I want my eulogy to be three hours long
and read live on the phone with a senator.
I want the texts I sent my parents from under my desk
to be printed and framed and left on the steps of the NRA headquarters.
I want protest signs on my grave instead of flowers.

If I die of gun violence I want someone to publish my poems
and dedicate the book to everyone who is still fighting.
I want my school principal to visit my grave
and decide that good intentions are not enough.
I want my friends to light candles for me at 2 AM and watch
the smoke blow upwards towards the stars.

If I die of gun violence
I want people to understand what it means to be alive.
how electric blood felt through my veins
how i could reach out and touch the world around me
how i had a heartbeat

how I would have made baby noises at my dog that morning
and groaned about my science test in the afternoon
my dad’s goofy drawing would be on my paper lunch bag

And after I die no one will know these things
But I want them to. I want it to be written
On every sign at every march
That I stuck my pinky up every time I passed a graveyard
As a sign of respect to the dead

I want people to remember that this body right here held
a force that no scientist can perfectly recreate,

wiped out in an instant
by one bullet out of many and
If I die of gun violence I want to know
That I will be the last person to die of gun violence.
Let the minute of silence you hold for me
Be the only act of silence the world has to see again.

Let my parents be the last to lose a daughter
to a kid with a gun in a school
Let there never be another lockdown
or another walkout or another “troubled teen
who happened to get his hands on a deadly weapon”

If I die of gun violence, do not blame it on me
do not say I was the one that brought on my own death,
because if you mourn me you will mourn
A girl who spent every single year of her life fighting to keep it
and if you can’t remember
the meaning of my name, it should never leave your lips

If I die of gun violence I want to know
that I am leaving a world that can change
I want to know that when I am gone someone will care
someone will scream for me
someone will feel for me
when a kid with a gun takes it all away.

By Sarah Waring

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

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