God was tired of the school shooter.
God was tired of the human race.
God had a bad night, woke in a pile of leaves.
Woke on a burning cloud.
God said to the school shooter in God’s mind, “I’m tired of you motherfuckers,”
and sent down a plague on the human people.
Everyone got sick.
Wear masks, the government scientists said.
Stay home. Cook your own food. Make your own gardens. Don’t have parties.
Put away your guns and planes.
The school shooter motherfuckers didn’t have any schools to shoot up anymore.
They went insane with boredom.
It was weird. Everything was different but nothing was different.
For years the kids went to school scared.
Wondering when the school shooter would drop from the cafeteria ceiling.
Wondering when the school shooter would walk into history class and shoot up history class. Now, the kids don’t go to school.
But they are still scared.
When is mom going to get plagued by the plague that God sent down?
My best friend, Lil’?
Everyone goes outside scared to supermarkets.
Everyone thanks the UPS delivery person.
There are no school days and everyone is still afraid.
God is a weird dude.
God is a weird dudette.
God is a messed-up God
supplanting one bullet for another bullet
and only fear stains the blue sky.
That’s the thing; it’s the kids.
They look up at the blue sky and they don’t see God.
They see a stain. It’s the stain of fear
and God has nothing to do with it and neither do people.
The kids can save us. They are different than people.
They are more like supermarkets.
Matthew Lippman’s collection Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful won the 2018 Levis Prize and is published by Four Way Books. He has published five other collections of poems, including The New Year of Yellow (winner of Kathryn A. Morton Prize, Sarabande Books), Salami Jew, American Chew (winner of Burnside Books Prize), Monkey Bars, and A Little Gut Magic. He is the editor and founder of the web-based project Love’s Executive Order.
Image: “an actual dumpster fire which occurred behind my office a couple weeks ago” by Kindra McDonald