what can we do with shooting
procrastinate the delivery
not think about the source
deliver unto being
just Easter and the Passover
un being

recently a friend of mine had a beautiful gun
in her drawer by the bed
I did not know where it was
but the pistol of it for her seemed to be beautiful
the content – the being safe in a drawer – snuggled away
hugging her
lulling her to whenever she chose – a no-ending sleep

rather than just killing spree natural
a much and must-be way to kill
Janis Joplin sings
“freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”
we have that
but I cannot be sure when and where

our son lives out west and I just want to hug him closer
when he will be at most twenty miles away from us
learn how to again sing a lullaby

About the Poem

This is in response to “breaking news” about the Louisville shooting and gun violence on April 11, 2023.

About the Author

Vanessa Hedwig Smith is studying at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence with Elaine Sexton. Smith is also a painter and filmmaker who has lived and worked in India, Nepal, England, and the US. Her series of 94 short films, The Art of Impermanence, was shown for six months at a satellite show at the Venice Biennale. Most of the series revolves around process; ethics; beauty; health; spirituality; and the environment. Her work can be seen at She holds a BA from Stanford in Urban Design, and an MA from Columbia in Anthropology. Her Chapbook – Room Tone will be published with Finishing Line Press in February 2024.

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