Did they cry for their mothers?
Pray to a god? Ask for mercy?

Perhaps they died without a sound
not a whimper or tear.

Nobody talks about their actual deaths
about this slaughter of innocents.

We remember them for their could-have-beens­:
hopes, wishes, childhood dreams

delusions of a better place where children
are safe from madmen’s hands.

This one an athlete another a chef;
this one perhaps a dancer, poet, doctor, nurse

a writer of tales a lover of dogs.
Now bloodied and their faces blown away.

Did they wonder why their fathers did not come?
Did they shudder at the popping sounds?

Did their dying bodies jerk
about the classroom’s cold vinyl floor?

I wonder if they cried in pain.
Can we explain to them why
that madman came to school that day?

By Kenneth Weene