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     Used to be’s are funny. I used to take things for granted. I used to figure I’d always have tomorrow. Used to be I’d buy a round without thinking. Not so much anymore.

     Used to be I’d smile at purple columbine flowers. That ended in ninety-nine. For twenty years  the flowers have filled me with grief.

     Used to be Virginia Tech made me think of my mechanical engineer sister-in-law, a VT graduate. Not since 2007. Two-zero-zero-seven. Double oh. Get it? License to kill. Body count 32.

     Santa used to fill me with jolly thoughts. Not since Covina. Not since oh-eight.

     Norman Rockwell? Immigrants earning their citizenship? Man I loved that painting. America! “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 2009 killed that one. Binghamton.  

     November of that year it was Fort Hood, Texas. Fort Hood! A psychologist?

     “Sikh and ye shall find?” Remember Wisconsin? Remember 2012? That was August. December brings us Sandy Hook. How many times have I bicycled in Newton? Children. Little children.

     Charleston, 2015. Killing babies in their church? In their church! Sieg-heil, Nazi fucks. “White Power, baby!” Screw you. Speaking of “White Power” what’s up with April? Hitler’s birthday?

     Dayton, El Paso, Virginia Beach, Thousand Oaks, Pittsburgh, Santa Fe. Parkland! Parkland, Parkland, Parkland! Sutherland, Las Vegas. Orlando Pulse, Orlando Pulse, Orlando Pulse.

     My uncle. Doing it right. No shot to the temple: He swallowed that barrel.

     Gilroy. It was Gilroy. Stephen Romero. He’s the one who brought it home. Somehow that six-year-old made it personal.

     You want another round? Screw you.