*Trigger Warning:  Violence, Blood, Classrooms, Secondhand Trauma*

The red remains
staining linoleum, off-white brick.
Someone had left
solvents, a mop, Clorox
wipes, after cleaning
half an hour. 

Staff were gone.
Students were gone.
I remained and kept
finding more.  Spots, 


on desks, in chairs, in cracks
where walls met floor,
in topographical anomalies
of brick—high, too high
up the wall.  I remained
and kept

The kids were gone, all
the kids, including
the two who had erupted
into violence. 

I was okay.  I felt okay.
None of the shakes that follow
an emergency, the Doppler Effect
of time stretching, like un/breaking
taffy, the release and withdraw
of hormones, until it’s over and then,
only then, the trembling.

I was okay.
The next day, I was okay
and slept

five hours in the middle
of the day. 

The next Monday, I slipped
back into the classroom.
Sat at my desk.  Silence.

I was okay.  Everything
was clean.  Ordered.
I was okay. 

I was okay
and shaking.