Author | Levi J. Mericle

(Dedicated to the shooting in North Carolina. 9/28/2016)

“This poem is not written based on a true event”   

I want to tell you a story.

One that doesn’t start with once upon a timed sequence.
One that doesn’t end with a happily ever aftermath.

It’s 7:52 a.m.
Two children walk side by side into a public school.
One child is known by almost everybody.

The other one sometimes gets remembered.

One has a motive and both have a mission.

The boy on the left wants to just pass history without falling asleep.
He wants to watch the seconds fall from the clock
like the blue bullets from master chiefs gun,
so he can go home to his real mission-


The boy on the right has lost all hope in video games,
all hope in saving lives,
all hope in enjoyment.
All of his master chiefs have abandoned him.
He’s left standing alone in the middle of the battle field of life with no one left to save.
No one left to save him.

He packs a backpack on his shoulder.
The holder of destruction, without repercussions –
because he’ll go out the way he wants to.

He justifies justice with the injustices he’s been served.
He swerves into the bathroom right before the bell rings.
His knees clanking like bolts in an old soup can.
His palms trying to grasp his father’s glock–

but keeps slipping as if he were grabbinga stick of butter.

Butterflies flutter in his stomach along with a hollowed hunger
because breakfast wasn’t served to him that morning.
No kiss on the cheek and a pleasant ride with mom in a minivan.

He left for school with a mission as his mother was on a mission for a needle.
His father on a mission for the next time slot in a federal prison –

He is the garbage pail child,
society has marked him because of who his family is.

He sticks a filled magazine in the handle
and calks his piece.
He takes a deep breath and then a release.
What are we to do with that?
How are we to handle it?

A child loaded with hate is even scarier sometimes than the loaded gun he or she is wielding.
The empty feeling that fills your soul with abandonment as a child whose brain is underdeveloped,

is like sending a newborn to kindergarten.

It’s like putting a kindergartener behind the wheel of a car and saying,
you need to drive yourself to school today.

We place principles in the hands of children who receive no principles at home,

no principles with their friends.

There’s no stable routine in their psyche that tells them they are redeemable humans –
No matter their background, no matter their current situation

they have worth.

But once you pull that trigger,
once you swerve that knife,
once you detonate that device,
there is no going back –
Two boys walked into a school that day.
Both with a mission.

One with a motive.

Both never again walked out.

About the Author | Levi J. Mericle is a poet/spoken-word artist, lyricist and fiction writer from Tucumcari, N.M. Currently he is associated with the New Mexico State Poetry Society and gives readings from his work. His work has appeared in multiple anthologies and can be seen in many lit magazines and journals from over half a dozen countries such as, Black Heart Magazine, Mused, Flash Fiction Magazine, eFiction India, Awakenings Review, University of Madrid’s literary magazine and more.