All In One Peace?

“You’re not yet ready to shed your cocoon of comfort” from “Grand-Mother, Two Truths of the Same Woman.”

by Dorothy England


“All In One Peace?”

Fiction Based on a True Mass Shooting

by Leanna Glenn Markham


This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.


I am comfortable right now, physically,
a cup of tea at my side,
a cushioned chair.
Body already exercised for the day
And somewhat relaxed.

Death struck nearby.
A crazed gunman assaulted
his own coworkers,
ensuring some wouldn’t
go home at the end of shift
and others would never start.
He timed it to snuff life
at the cross section of shifts.
The sickest form of cleverness.
Dogs found explosive materials
in the building.

Then again,
I was once detained
at Denver airport
for explosive materials
on my carry-on.
Turned out to be
dust or fertilizer
from the bed
of the pickup truck.
I digress
because as I said,
I’m comfortable.

But someone I know
mourns a close friend.
Others await word of loved ones.
Many grieve
and many more will,
once they’ve shed
the soft blanket of denial
that cushions us
in our worst moments.

The news folks have
already waxed political
seizing the raw and bleeding moment
to paint predictions
and campaign signs
with their red words.
I’m glad at least that
the audio feed froze
before the real politicians
poured their
“I am the medicine” balm
into our social wounds.

I could puke,
but I’ll hold off.
Too uncomfortable.

Before mass shootings
became stylish in the U.S.
we were the innovators,
right here in Silicon Valley,
when Richard Farley
shot seven people
at ESL,
right where my sister worked.
People she knew died then.
She told me
from not so far away Georgia
that today’s events
brought back those memories.
Pain sits close to home.

One of the officials said
they were examining
how they could have
prevented this.
But right now,
no one knows the why,
only the how.
We hold a feeling
of collective responsibility
as well as a feeling
of mutual helplessness.

What can I do,
here from my chair?
Pray for victims, families,
loved ones.
Listen, wipe tears,
if given the chance.

Ultimately, I must do
my best to
be the best me–
One who loves,
one who reaches out
if stressed,
who gives voice
to the stuff roiling
on the inside–
So that I don’t
lash out with
(my weapon of choice)
and mow down
the innocent.

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