The Right to Keep and Bear Reason

By Boyd Bauman

A trail made of open books over fall leaves.The unimaginable became reality again.
According to script,
a loner from society’s fringe
thrust himself into the spotlight
with the usual Second Amendment props.
But this time,
it was the aftermath
that shocked a nation.

What was it
cracked the jade
of American conscience?

What was it
made the leader of the NRA
openly weep when recalling
his boyhood romps on the farm
before vowing to work liberally
with all reasonable politicians?

What was it
prompted faithful members
of his organization
to petition their government
to invite Australian officials
for advice on initiating
a buy-back program
to remove the deadliest weapons
from our streets?

What was it
cajoled congressmen and women
to care about their most vulnerable constituents
enough to cross the aisle
and legislate background checks
on day one?

What was it
convinced Murdoch’s drones
to blessedly shut down
for the weekend,
race home to embrace the small souls
who eagerly greet them daily at the door
before devoting their 24-hour fear cycle
exclusively to the ease with which
assault armaments are obtained
and the corporate greed
that facilitates this economy?

What was it
finally horrified a culture
over carnage at a daycare
we may never know,
but as the president read aloud
the litany of lost lives,
we reconciled ourselves
to our unalienable responsibilities,
became a village of parents
to our most sacred charges,
and wept as one:






















About the Author

Boyd Bauman grew up on a small ranch south of Bern, Kansas.  His dad was a storyteller and his mom the family scribe.  He has published two books of poetry:  Cleave and Scheherazade Plays the Chestnut Tree Café.  After stints in New York, Colorado, Alaska, Japan, and Vietnam, Boyd now is a librarian and writer in Kansas City, and lives with his lovely wife Lisa and little poets Haven and Milly   Visit him at .

This poem originally appears in Bauman’s Cleave (Spartan Press, 2018).

Photograph by Laura Kapfer via

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