• Carol Everett Adams

What to Say to Politicians After Uvalde

I was inspired to write this by what Jimmy Kimmel said. Feel free to share this poem with any "leader" you think needs to read it.

United States map painted on pavement at an elementary school
Photo by Joshua Coleman on Unsplash

What to Say to Politicians After Uvalde

You’re the monster under your own bed. Let’s reach in,

slide you out from under that cheap metal frame

while the other monsters in your closet laugh.

We wrestle you, shake you, but you crawl back under to fester,

hoarding your toys, more important to you than children

spinning on those clanky old merry-go-rounds

that have disappeared from all over the country,

the ones that made you sick when your friends dared you

to hop on. So dizzy, so free to fly off but you held tight.

You clutch tight to something cold while the spinning

flings off the younger ones.

You’re the monster under their beds now,

only you aren’t under their beds—

you come out of their cubbies. You’re hiding under

their tiny blue plastic chairs, the ones where the hard

curve never quite fits a little body.

You burst out of the closet where the markers hide,

where the glue is dried on forever. You pop out from behind

the lunch line and hurl plastic trays at their heads,

you smear pudding and macaroni in the long hair

of the girls. You have closed the boys’ eyes

so they don’t become you. You blame

everyone but yourself, everyone.

You blame the kids, cops, teachers, parents, the health

system, the crossing guard with her sign

screaming at you to stop. You blame the school nurse,

the open door, the people who voted against you,

the people who give you money, you blame

tuition at your kids’ private schools, where red bricks

protect from monsters. You blame the games,

music, economy, foreign wars, and the stores

trying to pay workers off the sales

across the aisle from sporting equipment.

It is time now. Oh, it’s time.

We have only just enough

heart left to lay hands on your heads.

Bow down now before us and say

you were wrong. Come to the altar you say

we should cling to. Ask for forgiveness you say

the rest of us need. Creep on your knees

to the front of the tent and cry with the rest of us

over your monster soul. We’ll extract it from your body,

the way you pulled souls from those little bodies.

Other people’s children—as lovely as yours.

The swings they lift in, small yarn necklaces flying,

chocolate coins they’ve traded falling out of pockets.

When the coins melt, no one will play with you.

No one wants to play your lottery game anymore

except the other monsters, dark things in your dark room,

rubbing their hands together, eyeing your toys.


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