Doves — Back to School Post, Uvalde

Poem by Eshaan Mani

From under the desk,
Next to the cutout of George Washington,
19 pairs of eyes look out into the darkness. 

Doors bolted shut, windows covered,
students huddled and silent,
All one can hear is the fast beating of young hearts. 

A soft, reassuring whisper
And gentle touch on the shoulder —
Mrs. Garcia ensures her beloved little doves
That they’ll be safe and sound. 
They hear footsteps around the corner…
A young soul of just 18,
Whose once innocent eyes 
Are now clouded with a wish for vengeance,
In whose ears the laughs of his fellow students ring,
As he struggled to utter a sentence without stuttering,
Whose heart turned to stone
The instant he bid his grandmother adieu,
Slinks down the hall.

One cartridge.
19 lives.
Hundreds of dreams.
Thousands of tears.

The doves have flown away.

Who knew loss, destruction, and despair
Could come so quickly?

Uvalde will never be the same.
Joining the ranks of Columbine, Sandy Hook, 
The families beating their chests and wailing
Join thousands of others to create a drumbeat of desperation.

Here we stand.
Begging for action, 
Begging for legislation,
Begging that the endless killing machine 
in our educational institutions, 
the temples of learning,
the playgrounds where childhoods are relished,
Be stopped…
Some way, somehow. 
Any way, anyhow. 

As the elders debate the greater civil right: 
Or life?
Arming teachers,
Using ballistic blankets,
Exculpating instruments of murder,
Or introducing hard legislation?

You tell me:
What’s the civil right thing to do?

Eshaan Mani is a writer, foodie, and tennis player. They have a passion for being the voice of inspiring people and inspiring events and enjoy weaving an immersive story.

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