“Shattered” by Brian Marshall
Through flesh and bone, heart and hope,
precisely calibrated to break apart
all that I am and all that I might have been in the blueprint of my life.
Where once I stood, uncertain but whole,
are now a million slivers of glass, too small to reflect the light.
A mirror pulverized so fine, I can no longer see myself.
There is more than one way to kill the body.
There is more than one way to crush the spirit.
It does not matter that mine was not a great life, that I was no hero,
that I was silent when I should have said “no,”
that I kept the peace when I should have resisted,
that I was ashamed of the very parts of myself I should have worn with defiance.
It doesn’t matter that I hadn’t yet found the land where I could plant a flag and say,
“This is mine. This is me.”
Weak or wayward, good or bad, it was my life, and you had no right
to take it from me with an AR-15,
to take their lives in terror and in blood.
We were nothing to you on that day.
Those precious lives were nothing to you.
Targets to bring down.
Faceless, nameless sheaths for your bullets and your impotent rage.
When one human being kills another human, it is not just lives that are snuffed out.
It is faith itself. Trust. Sanity. It is normality, safety, laughter, the mundane.
Hearts and minds, love and respect, comprehension. Expectation. Ease. Comfort.
The gift of being carefree. Of optimism. Of joy.
This is what you took from us, from those who died and those who survived.
The day we shattered.