315 Today*: A Poem About Gun Violence
By Leah D. Schade
Hot grey seed
shot into pliant flesh
yields a ruby bud
blossomed into red petals.
Is this our harvest?
A crop of stilled hearts.
To hold the metal of judgment
in your hands;
To learn the intricacies
of the mechanism
that finally comes down to your finger
folding around this smooth curve.
It is weakness ashamed
of its ineptitude
that thrills in firing a bullet
faster than God can blink.
“Let the one who is without sin . . .”
It is the coward’s way
to end the conversation
with your own humanity.
is the lie we have told ourselves
to compensate for our fear.
The stronger way
is to pierce your soul with a shard
from the mirror that shattered
upon Abel’s impact.
The more courageous way
is to confront that stained reflection
and weep the tears
that may yet loosen the long-dried layers of loathing.
in the distance between
your curving finger
and the flesh of the body you are about to fell,
it is your own.
* 315 is the number of people shot in America every day.
Leah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary (Kentucky) and author of the book Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015).
Read also: Worshiping the Gun God is Killing Us
To learn more about how you can help end gun violence, check out these links: