While Watching the Demonstration on Periscope, My Son Asks for a Gun by Terri Greco

Walking through our local Target on the eve of this historic sit in,
tension mounts in the toy aisle and I can’t help but try
to stream the video in its fragments; strain to hear
the voices calling out. We’re long past the fifteen-hour filibuster.
I have to say no again. Enough.

Enough to the guns that collect in our home,
plastic, elongated rifles and gargantuan machines loaded
with magazines of Nerf foam.
I don’t care if it’s your allowance, I say to my ten year-old.
Pick something else. At some point, there are too many. Play another way.

I look to the rhythmic hands of my watch to hold me.

There is a child therapist who wrote an article to prove me wrong.
She said parents should not deny their children the opportunity
to play with fantasy, restrict their need to explore, and try to prevent
what is natural. What is their given right. What lives inside of them.

I am a child therapist and I can’t ignore
the fact that guns get bigger every month and come with names like:
The Retaliator, N-Strike Elite, and Modulus Stealth Ops and require
safety glasses because foam is harmless until it punctures your eye
with battery-powered force at seventy-five feet.
I don’t want to disarm my child.
I don’t want him to get hurt.

Today’s news feed runs its ticker tape through my head:
FOOLS, FOOLS, stop trying to get attention, publicity stunt,
what a shame to the counter at Woolworths, Democrats, you had your vote!

I recall a memory. The week of the Sandy Hook massacre,
a child brought a loaded gun in their backpack to my son’s school.
Two small children exited the school bus and found help.
I saw every Connecticut child in the face of my six year-old that day.

I am lucky to see his face still.

As I drive away from the store, I think about civil rights–
How they have everything to do with guns.
There is a truck riding my bumper. Its fender pushes into me.
It tries to force its way and I press my foot to the gas and lose it.
I imagine myself going to straight to the House. Not making it home.
All of us, a line of infinite connected dots; sitting.





Terri Greco is poet and psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in Poetry Quarterly and The Gambler. She resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband, son, and precocious Papillon, Ruby.