shutters for gunshots

Fifi WangSeptember 7, 2021The Media That Raised UsPoetry

ultrasound waves in shutter speed
you came out of the womb smelling like fear
trembling, clenched jaw, a natal tooth
hooked on untouched flesh, punctured
blood tasted on the tip of your tongue
a bittersweet iron, metallic, like bullets
and you were born with Columbine’s gunshots
hoarded like 15 teeth between your breath

eyelids fluttered and something stared back
an accusation of your hindsight
you envisioned with towers, twinned
four planes circled the delivery room like vultures
their screeches sounding like a coax.
flashing cameras, preying on a pile of bones
in the mirror was a monster, coughing up blood
shaped in history’s greatest tragedies

the adults couldn’t bring themselves to look
when shadows landed in the room
claws bending rails on your crib
took you under its wing, raised by a vulture
as if you were its own. rode on its back
through Iraq and Syria, afraid that politics
turned to violence, human rights paved with blood
Arab Spring preceded by a harsh winter

a pack of vultures, mistaken flashing screens
for a carcass on buses and trains
the streets of London paralyzed
footsteps turned into camera clicks, hatred thrived
but you couldn’t have known
if the vulture hadn’t taken you there, a decade later
Paris, loud vibrations on the theatrical walls
nothing has changed, you’re crying, and we are too

reflected in the vulture’s sharp, watery glance
voices broke out from silence, Lives Mattered
alarms as lullabies, shutters for gunshots
your caretakers scratched out a world
in great feasts and meatless bones, in two truths
and a million lies, chaos is raw but human.
the media has raised a generation of us
when the rest of the world wouldn’t — couldn’t

Fifi Wang is a high school junior who enjoys reading fiction in her free time, especially to relieve stress. She believes that literature is a vital fragment of sanity in her life.