Red Blouse, or how we cope with the intolerable

Last week while visiting Ireland, I found myself in the strange position of answering my cousins’ questions about gun violence in America. As we sat around the table with little cousins running in and out of the room, the adults wondered–how can we tolerate having lockdown drills with young children, hiding in the corner of a darkened classroom, beseeching them to remain silent? How do we normalize all of the school shootings? There are no answers.

I tend to “telescope” when something bad happens, as a way of coping, I suppose. I usually fasten my attention on one particular person, and I root for them and pray for them and worry for their safety or solace. That’s why I wrote this poem, “Red Blouse,” for Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed in her school in Uvalde, Texas. It was published last week in The Rise Up Review.  Lexi was recently remembered at an End Gun Violence event in Fenway Park, pictured below. The photo shown at Fenway, which was shared by her family on social media, was taken at an awards ceremony on the morning preceding the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

For more on fighting the epidemic of gun violence, see Moms Demand Action.


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