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ÖMËGÄ

WHEN WE REHEARSE THE SCHOOL SHOOTING ❋ Mitchell King

—you die three times because I am unable to barricade the door

under seven seconds. I learn that my words cannot form a wall from fear
or bravery and they were never meant to rise up between our bodies and a bullet (like there could
ever be more than air between us) before the drill

we were learning about starlings and murmuration; the evasive patterns of animals, the scales of
fish, the light on the water and you asked me how do animals know that they are in such danger,
how do they feel the wind and the water like a language on their body urging run

I want to be large enough to hold the world between my teeth
like a cat carries a litter—What is freedom?

What is freedom? I’ve lived my life with the leaves hissing in my ears.

We cannot run faster than the thrush before an earthquake, appearing, at last, like ghosts. Here in
our classroom I write letters on the board like an incantation—this is our survival Jacob—learn to be
like the sky.