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Presidential Tears
Kai Coggin
Writer of the Month

Every time
I type gun violence
on my new iPhone,
the autocorrect changes it
to fun violence,
because in 2016 there is
an autocorrect to our thoughts
that tries to stray us away from the truth,
there is an electronic veil
that keeps me from tasting
the metal under my tongue
from the wild gunfire
cracking open an asphalt night,
sidewalk chalk has a different meaning
when it has arms and legs and a head
with no face, and another body leaving
the world without a trace,
the President cried presidential tears
into the January 5th afternoon,
an executive order
was signed in the blood of too many names,
and today it is not as easy to buy an M-16 at your local Walmart
as it was yesterday,
because the President
is a man who has had enough,

the President shed tears
for Sandy Hook,
the first graders that are learning
their alphabet in the clouds,
and you would think
that a massacre of first graders
would stop this national crisis of guns,
but even the youngest and most innocent
have had no weight on all the horror that's been done,

and yesterday,
the president wiped away tears
for all of the children,
too many young black boys
who never became old black men,
and toy guns are just as deadly as the real thing especially
if you are 12 and black and playing make-believe on a playground,
and the police need policing,
and the mothers' grief needs releasing,
and it is all starting to bubble up into the throat of our leader,
the choke of a trigger has found the tipping point's needle,
and yesterday the President
cried the tears of a nation,
as a black man, as a father,
as the Commander in Chief
reaching frustration,
and when I saw those tears fall, I felt a change in the wind,
I see his presidential tears as a baptism,
a cleansing on the face of a dirty country,
his cheeks glistening with the last remnants of a history about to change,

the President cried Presidential tears,
and a poem my FB friend wrote about gunshots ripping apart classrooms
went viral on the internet, 
there is a new canon of poetry
born of blood and bullets,
and the readers of the future
will look back on these literary
descriptions of our existence,
and I hope they will have no idea how to identify this type of barbarism
in their real lives,
and when they type "gun violence"
into their holographic iPhones,
the autocorrect will change it to
"fun violets"
or have no suggestions at all.

Kai Coggin is a poet, author, and teaching artist living on the side of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR. She holds a BA in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Lavender Review, Broad!, The Tattooed Buddha, Split This Rock, Yellow Chair Review, ANIMA, Elephant Journal, and many other literary journals, as well as anthologized in several international collections. Her first full-length collection PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications 2014) is available at

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