johnny got his gun by Marsha Owens

johnny got his gun*

as leaves fall into brown piles splashed
with red and while the wind romps across
my yard, i drink coffee and read about troops
marching through headlines in Ukraine
leaving behind corpses just like in the U.S.,
but the bodies here are at the mall where she
went shopping and was gunned down,
and at the school where children squirmed
in their desks, not having learned yet they
will never get old because on this day—
pick a day, any day—someone has a gun
bought at the gun show and someone needs
to kill because he’s mad because she, the bitch,
refused to have sex or because baby cried
all night. . .so johnny got his gun, sits now
at the stoplight, pissed and driven to kill
anybody because he can, and not until later
do we see the video surveillance, how he pulled
slowly into the school parking lot, stepped out
of his car, calm, like he was just coming home
from work, something slung over his shoulder,
like it was just his day to take out the trash.

*(Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo)


Marsha Owens is a retired teacher who lives and writes in Richmond, VA,. Her essays and poetry have appeared in both print and online publications including The Sun, Huffington Post, Wild Word Anthology, Dead Mule, and Streetlight Anthology. She co-edited the poetry anthology, Lingering in the Margins, and her chapbook, She Watered Her Flowers in the Morning, is available at Finishing Line Press.

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