After a Mass Shooting by Cathleen Cohen

After a Mass Shooting

Frantic. No names
have been released, you scour

the air for electrical flow
between loved ones. No

spirits touch your face.
How much pain

can a day contain
until the vessel bursts?

No telling how many fell,
their days, like grass.

You pace and pray
for resource

until he calls, his voice
assuring he wasn’t there

in that moment.
But things tilt.

Wounds arrive so often
they can’t be bandaged

or peeled off
like days on a desk calendar,

paper squares let loose.
So many were felled,

their days, like grass.
Winds pass through

but this place won’t forget.
This is not a psalm.


Cathleen Cohen was the 2019 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, PA. A painter and teacher, she founded the We the Poets program at ArtWell, an arts education non-profit in Philadelphia ( Her poems appear in Apiary, Baltimore Review, Cagibi, East Coast Ink, North of Oxford, Passager, One Art Poetry, Philadelphia Stories, Rockvale Review, Rogue Agent, Camera Obscura (Moonstone Press, 2017) and Etching the Ghost (Atmosphere Press, 2021).