A Little Life: A Mother’s Prayer after a school shooting
A Little Life
After a school shooting, a mother’s prayer
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong / AP
He came from you to me.
Tiny, writhing, mouth open wide in a primal scream.
I remember the first time he blinked.
Eyes staring up into mine.
“I need you.”
Instinct merged with anxiety
Those first long hours
And chaotic, screaming nights
Exhaustion curled up together on the dark green couch
He fit next to me cozily, molded against my stomach like clay
Where he once had all he needed
I couldn’t put him back in
He got bigger
2 then 4 then 6 then 8
Big snow boots stomping off
Kindergarten and recess
And COVID lockdowns
He gave me morning hugs
He ate so many little bags of Goldfish crackers
I sent him back gingerly
He leapt onto the football field
He dashed around the playground
He laughed uproariously with his friends
He ate three pieces of pizza
The torn-up toes of his worn shoes flapped in the wind
The snow melted and the rain fell
He pulled up his hood and walked to school, unafraid
He’s only 21 inches taller
Than an AR-15, stood on its end
A little life can’t outlast
A little bullet
Propelled by the latest technology
And a country’s bloodlust
And our leaders’ cold calculations
Of little lobbyists and big donations
So many little bullets
Sprayed out over little lives
Little lives that are no more
No more backpacks or books
No more school drop offs or pickups
Just casings on the ground
All we have left
Of little lives
I wanted him to make 3-pointers
I wanted to go to his piano recital
I wanted to send him to college
And cry alone under the covers when he was gone
Proud. So proud.
I wanted to dance with him, poorly, on his wedding day.
To music I didn’t know.
And smile as he laughed again.
I wanted the little things.
Popsicles melting down his chin.
Letting me smooth petroleum jelly on his scrapes.
With two arms.
Ma .. ma
I wanted so much for him
And so little
A little life
A little boy
Let him grow old
Let him have
His little life
Poem inspired by John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Published originally at https://churchanew.org/blog/posts/uvalde-church-anew-writers-respond