for survivors of Stoneman Douglas and Santa Fe High School Shootings

Words sobbed into shoulders,
into sweaty hair, the clavicle,
the forehead, the breast your breast
is pressed against, into the vibrations
of each other’s solar plexus, the pelvis,
the churning belly that is shared
by both bodies in that one moment,
the ear—its lobe and lobule,
its pinna and auricle,
into the upper and lower lip, exhaled
through the nostrils and pores.

Words wept with bent heads,
quivering shoulders, rent throats,
welling noses, on knees,
prostrate on beds, into the water
of cleansing bowls in mosques,
the spired air of churches,
the arks of the Torah, the tiered
tower of Pagodas, wept
that sunny day and the sunless
to come, into the encompassing
night, the faces in vigils, candlelit.


About the Author

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro‘s novel, Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster, 2004), was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award. She has published essays in NYT (Lives) and Newsweek. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in many literary magazines such as Mudfish, Westview, Stand, Amarillo Bay, Bayou Magazine, Poet Lore, The Griffin, Los Angeles Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, East Jasmine Review, Peregrine, Gulf Coast, Passager, and Willow Review. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and she won the Branden Memorial Literary Award from Negative Capability. She currently teaches writing at UCLA Extension.