Advice to a Six Year Old After the Mass Shooting at the Midnight Showing of “The Dark Knight Rises"
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Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES

Advice to a Six Year Old After the Mass Shooting at the Midnight Showing of “The Dark Knight Rises"


Advice to a Six Year Old After the Mass Shooting
at the Midnight Showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”
 
by Caroline Bock
 
We send our children off—
with sunscreen and antibacterial lotion.
With orders to drink lots of water
if it’s hot, and to button up, if it’s cold.
I instruct my six year old not to scream—
don’t draw attention—
if the gunman points his semi-automatic your way—
run out of sight, disappear into the air—
know where the exits are located.
Or if in a classroom, barricade yourself in.
Don’t be a hero. Call 9-1-1.
Come home from Columbine,
West Virginia Tech, the “Congress at your Corner”
meet and greet in Tucson,
the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”—
come home safe.
But at six years old, she insists she is smarter than me:
says she won’t leave my sight, she’ll hold my hand.
She’ll eat her green vegetables. Go to bed early.
We send our children off—
mine, contrary to what she promises,
breaks away, races across the dying grasses—
the scent of apples on the ground—
a new backpack slung on her sturdy shoulders—
new sneakers tight on her feet.
We stand in the autumn fields demanding
the world return our children safely to us
and fear our voices can never be loud enough.
 
                       ###                      
Thoughts and prayers to all the victims and their families
In Colorado.
 
 
Caroline Bock is the author of the critically-acclaimed
 

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