in tribute to the victims of Uvalde

If the square blocks building 
my school could speak, 
they’d speak of fingers drawn
through their curves and dips, 
of declarations of first, second, third loves
etched in their cement, 
of perspiration painted by 
anxiety and excitement.
If the shapes splitting the gym floors of 
my school could speak, 
they’d speak of the quick squeak of sneakers, 
of the blurred arcs of balls and birdies 
swimming through air, 
of pupils trained on tape marks 
imagining NBA finals. 
If the circular library shelves of 
my school could speak, 
they’d speak of dog-earing pages for research essays, 
of discovering poetry amid prose fiction, 
of the blood escaping as ink onto paper 
blank of breath but black by knowledge.
And if I, the student of 
my school could speak, 
I’d speak of the graduation cords 
hugging my neck yesterday 
(rather than hugged to my parents’ sobbing chests), 
of the diploma handed after over a decade 
(rather than never printed or signed), 
of the heart that beat so fast and slow 
for the years and years I was granted 
(rather than stilled by bullets and 
surrendering its young soul). 
I’d speak of how I grew up thirty minutes 
from the terror of Sandy Hook, 
how my brother’s class was so carefully 
led inside for recess that day, 
how our parents didn’t dare tell us 
until years later;
of how when I embraced each friend 
and thanked every teacher last night, 
I was trying to not let the tears spill,
grateful beyond words for the time I was given,
beyond belief that my family was whole, 
beyond everything for the muggy night air 
in my lungs and swirling scarlet in my veins.