“December 4, 2012; Eleven Days Until Christmas,” “February 14, 2018; A Sunny Day” and “We’ve Seen Too Much”

Issue 33 by Yazmin Flores

“December 4, 2012; Eleven Days Until Christmas,” “February 14, 2018; A Sunny Day” and “We’ve Seen Too Much”

December 14, 2012; Eleven Days Until Christmas

A picturesque day

in Newtown: scattering

clouds danced joyfully,

making playful shapes,

monkeys and rhinos

followed the children

from car to classroom.

Sun rays shone warmly

above, soon to reveal

the twenty-six halos of

innocent souls.

A thousand miles away,

our day is much less bright;

no animals lead us

to classrooms, instead

school buses lead us out.

Noon—we watch in awe,

in disbelief, in silence.

No words would be enough.

I think about the grins,

their potential and unmet dreams;

I ponder on the valiancy and

the senselessness of everything.

One year passes, then three, then six,

but what time is meant to erase and

fix and overcome, prevails and

strikes once more and once more and

once more.

In all the years and all the clothes,

the gray t-shirt and jeans you wore

as twenty-six entities departed

will never leave

your memory.

February 14, 2018; A Sunny Day

Six minutes changed everything.

Six minutes made Valentine’s Day a dreaded date;

made Ash Wednesday feel unholy.

Six minutes cut lives short; left families etched

with undeviating emptiness.

Six minutes produced heroes like Peter Wang

who risked everything for strangers and friends.

Six minutes left three children fatherless

and one fiancée with nothing but an unworn dress.

Six minutes took four seniors, months away

from new chapters, away from their dreams.

Six minutes took away the next step

of seventeen people’s lives.

Six minutes stripped joy away from survivors

and instead filled them with unfair guilt.

Six minutes created years

of tears and grief.

Six minutes manufactured

“thoughts and prayers” across the country.

Six minutes jump

started a call to action.

Six minutes changed absolutely nothing.

We’ve Seen Too Much

We are the post-Columbine

generation; we have never

seen the before.

We’ve only heard names

of victims and watched

countless variants of the

same story unfurl.

We grew up overly cautious,

filled with fear, and

double thinking every

action as drills taught us

to survive.

We were raised to have

a plan, to look for exits,

learn basic aid;

show kindness to

everyone, never be cruel—

you never know who’s

watching.

The blonde one

had a list; would he

have tried if he’d

gotten the chance?

Could you have

recognized the signs?

Would you have

even made it through?

We’re different people

who’ve lived versions of

similar lives; younger

years were filled with

questions with no answers,

but in our adult ones,

we’re finally finding

power—checking boxes

will one day change the

outcomes of the world.

About the Author

Yazmin Flores

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Yazmin Flores is from Birmingham, Alabama. She is currently a student at Auburn University studying Creative Writing. On any given day, you can find her with a green tea lemonade in hand and listening to Taylor Swift on repeat.