Shelter

Shelter

by Addy Robinson McCulloch


We think of roof, walls, sink, and stove,
but these are merely the idea
and not the thing itself, its sinews and ligaments,
its beating heart –

The teacher who barricaded herself
and her students in a bathroom,
quieting them, telling them it would be ok,
that she loved them, just in case hers
was the last voice they heard.
How when the gunshots stopped,
and the children asked to be let out,
saying I just want Christmas,
she held them still.
How when the cops came, she called through the door
saying that if they really were cops they could go
and get the key. And how they got the key,
and retrieved the teacher and 14
living and breathing children
still calling for Christmas.

  1. This leaves me breathless. What powerful images and use of particular detail.

  2. Yes. Still trying to breathe here, too.

  3. This evokes both the tragedy and the heroism of that awful day. What a sad and perfect and lovely poem.

  4. Jeanette Gallagher

    I still have chills after reading this powerful and poignant poem. I hope many parents are able to see it somehow and appreciate the teachers and the heart of the author who wrote this wonderful poem.

  5. Thank you, Addy. What a special look into that day this poem gives us.

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