Five days after
a mob storms the Capitol Building
wielding Confederate flags, hate banners,
weapons and slurs and profanity,
cheers that bring chills to the bone,
my daughter’s boyfriend invites her
to a gun show. A couple hours away.
My daughter is twenty years old.
She is mine, but
Her mind is her own.

I can’t shelter her from the news
from headlines, articles
rants on Facebook and Twitter
video of a police officer being beaten
to death
by an American flag.
Can I keep her from an arena
with table after table of guns?
And a boy who will pick one up,
feel the weight in his palm,
maybe hold it outstretched to
sight down the length of a barrel.
Picture his prey.
Imagine squeezing the trigger.
A boy who thinks this is
a proper date.
For my girl.

I say no.
Just in case.

She listens.
Says she already told him

Kathie Giorgio is the critically acclaimed author of five novels, two story collections, three poetry books, and a collection of essays. A sixth novel will be released on 11/21. A fourth poetry book will be released on 8/22. She is the director/founder of AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop creative writing studio.