No Weapons on School Grounds
crater-faced caucasian males wear the same uniform:
mafia trench coats, skinny jeans, combat boots.
their laughs sing-song through chalkboards and desks
above screams of students running in circles
like the heels of their Nikes are on fire.
gunshots mix with broken glass crying to pieces
from the punched-in ‘emergency exit’ window:
after coming here so many times
you’ve learned to run
away from portable classrooms, science laboratories.
pipe bombs blast in 4/4 time
above the echoes of machine guns as you zig-zag
through the hallways past fresh corpses
lying face-down in their own red Kool-Aid
wearing lettermans and senior-rings and your palms slam
on the exit door bar as legs swerve
into the breezeway past
makeshift picnic tables vending machines
where guillotine heartbeats seize your ears shouting
one word over and over and over and over-
or a teenage firing squad
Ashley Schilling is a teenage writer and an alumni of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. She has earned multiple accolades for her work, including shortlist for the 2019 Faulkner Society High School Short Story Contest, publication in the American High School Poets “Just Poetry!” Quarterly, and an honorable mention for the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She is currently earning a degree in English at Loyola University New Orleans.