S. M. Ellis

Between the Shooters & Us

 We see barefoot girls hide
                                   in almond trees in the yard
                             & ready or not

 San Bernardino’s breaking
                                           news:   TV, mute:

               here is Fatima,      
                             acres of tract homes
               between the bullets:
                                                    here’s the kettle—
 whistling orange groves

                 down the block, as kids,
                                our neighbor jumping rope
 beside a yucca palm:

               whose idea
                            tied her up
               as she bawled
                                           who said stop?
               who wouldn’t?
                                           no more

                          do you know
 my middle name
              or just the evening news?
                                                 “Don’t burn yourself”
 she says:
                          three, four: 

S.M. Ellis holds an MFA from New York University. Previous work has appeared in Paper Nautilus, Straylight Literary Review, Illuminations, Salamander, Columbia Journal, Iowa Review, and others.

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