Courtney LeBlanc reads “Call to Arms.”
Here’s how it happened:
there was an anger brimming,
there was a hatred burning
hot like frostbite. There was
a desire to return to how it
had been two hundred years ago.
Let’s start over.
I walk out of the bathroom and my brother
places the gun on the kitchen counter. I know
from the last school shooting that it’s an AR-15.
I do not know if it is loaded. I do not care. I feel
the anxiety climbing my spine, each vertebra
a knobby rung.
I want to believe my family isn’t like this but
I found a MAGA hat in the closet and I know
this is red country. My sister and I threw it
into a trashcan on the street. My father won’t
wear it again, won’t vote in the next election, won’t
live through the weekend.
Let’s begin again.
When I’m home I go for a run on the National Mall,
the Confederate flag and camo crowd is gathering.
Every backpack is suspect, every stare a challenge.
My body feels like a target.
The night before I watched the video, the viral
call to arms. The fear crawled over my skin like fire
ants, hungry and incessant. If my brother lived
closer, he’d be in the crowd.
This poem was originally published in The Quarantine Review.