Because I have heard the sirens
racing toward two active shooters two years apart,
turned the TV volume up to drown
the helicopters hovering overhead,
because I have seen a textbook
with a bullet hole and been thankful
my student had a very full backpack that night
even though he was sometimes a pain in the ass,
I kiss you each morning before I leave,
careful not to crush the cat
who has snuggled herself by your side,
gentle as I pull away and leave the house
to the wrens somewhere near calling out:
takecarenow takecarenow takecarenow

Jennifer Schomburg Kanke, originally from Columbus, Ohio, lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she edits confidential government documents. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, Court Green, and SWWIM. She serves as a reader for Emrys.