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to my shaking hands

By Ella Jaya Sran

to the screams.
to the glass-shattering pleas for life
that no one but they can hear.
to the wooden desks that were my sanctuary
in a place I should’ve been able to call
to not knowing if this would be your end
to cursing yourself when you realize
do they know?
the morning was just another one
another lapse of frustrating delay
and so you slammed the car door
you can’t remember.
do they know you love them?
do they know you’re scared?
do they know this is a terrorist attack,
or is the news just calling it a name
that doesn’t deserve a second glance?
to my favorite shirt.
now stained with the blood of my

to the beast inside of me
to my shaking hands
as I try to place my anger
but there’s too much.
too much
to comprehend
to the burning claws ripping my chest to shreds
as I read State votes no on gun reform law.
and again.
and again.
to wanting to be in their seat
to wanting to be able to say yes in their place
to wondering.
wondering how they live with themselves.
wondering if they know they’re murdering children.
wondering when it’ll ever be enough for them.
to knowing they care more
about the deer hunter in Oklahoma
than the millions of
who just want to learn--
I’m sorry, I meant

to clutching your hair at night
a sliver of moon teasing your silent floors
to the hot tears trying to catch the light
as they drop to the ground
like the bodies.
to alyssa.
to scott.
to martin.
to nicholas.
to aaron.
to jaime.
to chris.
to luke.
to cara.
to gina.
to joaquin.
to alaina.
to meadow.
to helena.
to alex.
to carmen.
to peter.
to the thousands of others
who are lines on a graph
poster boards to analyze
know that you are human
and we remember you.
and we remember your dreams
we remember that you wanted to become a teacher
a dancer.
we know you were wondering whether you would get a valentine
what you would eat after school
we know you were looking ahead
and we’re sorry.
we’re sorry
that no one wants to imagine
your bloody,
empty bodies on the floor
of somewhere you should’ve been able to call
we’re sorry you’ll never get that valentine
we’re sorry you’ll never become a teacher
a dancer.

but you’ll never know.
because you were chosen
to be in a game you never wanted to play
we should’ve banned the game.
we should’ve kept it out of his hands
we’re sorry
i’m sorry.

so to the beast inside my chest
to its claws that linger
always sharp
I will let you out.
I have let you out.
to the anger that keeps me unbalanced
your time has come
to scream.
to my bewilderment as to how our representatives still vote no
ask them.
to the faces of victims flashing before my eyes
draw them.
on signs.
in marches.
put them up
be outraged because you already are because your hands
are already shaking.
now put them to work
and steady them.

Added: Wednesday, March 21, 2018  /  Used with permission. Sran offered this poem to Split This Rock in support of the March for Our Lives, the youth march against gun violence, in Washington DC on Saturday, March 24, 2018.
Ella Jaya Sran

Ella Jaya Sran is an 8th grader at Loudoun School for the Gifted in Virginia. Her poetry has been published in the book Treasured by The America Library of Poetry. She’s an avid lover of poetry and literature, especially works that express the struggle and spirit of social justice movements. Ella’s poetry focuses on activism and representation, as well as creating literature that has the reader empathize with the world around them.

Other poems by this author