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David Walker

Maybe because Latin music is too raucous.
Maybe because two guys should know better than to kiss in the street.
Maybe because one name is easier to remember than forty-nine-and-counting.
Maybe because you can buy his gun in under eight minutes.
Maybe because it takes more time to collect the phones of his victims.
For smoke to rise out.
To find a place to discard his shells.
To receive your coffee during peak times.
Maybe because pills cost more than bullets.
Maybe because we’ve raised our hand to our chest for heartache more times than to pledge allegiance.
Maybe because we’ve stopped talking about it in lunchrooms.
Maybe because we’re sodden.
Maybe because no one kissed him like those two men kissed. 
Maybe because salvation has more to do with us than God.
Maybe because their phones didn’t stop ringing even after their hearts stopped beating.
Even after the air would have been too smoke-thick for them to breathe anyway.
Even after their mothers on the other end knew why they should stop dialing.
Even after the crew came to place everything not already dead in plastic bags for collection.
Maybe because we have crews for this sort of stuff.
Maybe because love and carnage are diagonal on the periodic table.
Maybe because hate is a used-up needle we keep sticking our arms with.
Maybe because peace is hostage with too high a ransom.
Maybe because Islamic terrorists know every lie we’ve told our parents.
Maybe because nowhere is safe.
Maybe because we haven’t accepted that yet.
Maybe because video games.
Maybe because lead paint.
Maybe because wooden spoons.
Maybe because too much sugar.
Maybe because he wasn’t hugged.
Maybe because they want votes.
Maybe because Florida.
Because not enough.
Because not nearly enough.
Because too much.
Because big business.
Because broken homes.
Because bullies.
Because bombs.
Because bones.
Because blood.
Because breathing.

David Walker is the father of one son and the author of three poetry chapbooks. His poem "California" won the 2016 Steel Pen Conference Creative Writing Contest and his work has most recently appeared in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, Parody, and Buck Off. He can always be contacted at