Mothers with Searchlights or After Another School Shooting By Mitch James

Mothers with Searchlights or After Another School Shooting

Hell is not below
It’s above
and it’s full of mothers
searching for their dead children

God is not up there
He is a man
Men don’t wait
He is not listening to your prayers
It’s all mothers
and they’re wailing

Here’s what’s fucked up

If they could hear you
over their lamentations
they’d probably stop what they were doing
stop searching for their dead
just to help you

That’s what women do
when they become mothers
Even when they’ve lost it all
they find more to give

Hell is
so-tired mothers

You don’t believe me
Look up into a clear night
You’ll see them
in their infinite fatigue
sorrow eternal
their children nowhere to be found
just mothers
and darkness

How do we not weep at it
all the children gone
all the mothers standing
their searchlights bright
but still

By Mitch James

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


Mitch James lives in Northeast Ohio by way of Pennsylvania by way of Illinois. He has three degrees, one terminal, in various fields of English studies. Mitch has had fiction, poetry, and scholarship on creative writing published in a handful of venues, most of which can be found at Mitch’s poetry and fiction are both traditional and experimental, think Darren Arnofsky weds Cormac McCarthy while stepping out with Raymond Carver and having a tryst with Hemingway, all of it witnessed by William Faulkner through a small parting in a curtain; think of trying to remember a life lived just like that but having to do so through a memory that only knows for certain the bottle is empty but wasn’t last you checked, all while listening to Philip Glass and Max Richter, knowing that if death had a sound, they are it.

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