Trenchcoat: a poem about Columbine

by janeeatonhamilton

Bags of potpourri that the Littleton, Colorado, fire department made from flowers placed at Columbine High School: 3000



It was hard to drop her at school

that spring. She made me leave her

two blocks away

Low on her hip she

flicked dismissive fingers at me

in a way she hoped would be invisible

to other kids


It wasn’t just Columbine

Children were dying video gun deaths

all over the US

Other teens were being snapped in two in car accidents

breakable as bread sticks

or taken to lonely woods

and crumpled like test papers


At the swimming pool after

I watched a teen boy toss Meghann like pizza

his arms newly strong, voice

loud, sure, traveling out over the heads of toddlers

and kids in grade school

moms with infants at breast


She fought for footing on the bottom of the pool

came up sputtering


happy to be vanquished


I wanted to tell someone I loathed potpourri