Shell Shock By Eliza Browning

Shell Shock

Because we are children, the untouchability
of our lives seems fragmentary, uncertain.

Remind me what softened us, casing by case,
until it rocked our bodies numb?

Out here we breathe church bells and lichen.
Out here we breathe crossfire and limestone,

the twenty-six flags at the fire station bleeding
into vision from the middle of December until

to first thaw of spring. East of the river, the
journalist writes, it’s like a different world.

With every frost we become children again,
huddling in the back of a school bus around a

single screen in a gray veil of snow, wondering
who would save us. Down south, in the shadow

of the Potomac, a girl and boy are digging by a river.
They’re scooping graves out of the mud and silt,

scraping shards of bark from beneath their fingernails,
burying what’s left of the past and everything yet unknown.

By Eliza Browning

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


Eliza Browning is a seventeen-year-old high school senior from Connecticut. She is the editor-in-chief of her school literary magazine, Sidetrax, and the founder of the Janus Review, an online publication aimed at promoting diversity in the arts and amplifying the voices of high school and college students. Her work has been recognized by Hollins University and College Xpress.

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