Two years ago, By Jack Verhagen

Two Years ago,

I sat down to write a poem about a man
whose hands were stained with blood, who took so many lives
in a nightclub in Florida. Two years ago I watched with tearful eyes
as the stories of the victims flooded the Internet; two years ago I watched
as people said “not again, not again. this cannot happen again.”

Two years ago, my friends told me they were going to L.A. Pride and I said
“but what if, but what if. you know that’s a target, you know it is.”
and they said they’d be fine but the police caught a man
whose hands could have been stained with blood, who was trying
to drive to L.A. Pride with a trunk full of guns. I had so many
friends there that day. So many friends I could have lost in the space
of a heartbeat.

Two years later, I sit down to write a poem about a man
whose hands are stained with blood, who took so many lives
in a high school in Florida. Two years later I watch with tearful eyes
as the stories of the victims flood the Internet; two years later, I watch
as people say “not again, not again. never again.”

Two years later, things have not changed. But the people are
changing. The people will not be silenced. The people, no, the students
are standing up to say “never again. never again.
And this time they mean it.

Two years from now, I hope I will not have to sit down to write a poem about a man
whose hands are stained with blood, who took so many lives
somewhere in America. Two years from now, I do not want to watch
as the stories of the victims flood the Internet; two years from now I do not want
people to say “not again, not again. not again.”

Two years from now, I do not want to see any of this.
Because I do not want any of this to happen, ever again.

By Jack Verhagen

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

Biography:

Jack Verhagen is a 17-year-old poet from the sunny state of California. She enjoys writing and skateboarding, as well as frequenting any coffee shop that can be found in the area. She hopes to be able to compile a chapbook of her poetry in the near future, and looks forward to her future growth as a writer.

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