Offshoots- Kristen Wood


My 9-year old daughter

is shaking,

unable to sleep.

Panic overtakes her.

I clasp her hands

and remind her

to focus on what’s real,





It is hard to quell

a panic attack

by focusing on reality

when the reality is

she found out

why the flags are at half-mast.

But what if it happens here

what if

what if

what if?

I offer unassured assurances.

I breathe



She knows

her uniformed, conservative school

on lock-down.

She knows

police swarming

her brother’s junior high.

Reports of guns

and danger

and crouching out of sight

and staying in the bathroom

if that’s where you are when the shooter comes

and dark paper on windows

and teachers who will

bar the door,

human shields.

My daughter suffers from anxiety

because she cannot




the world around her

and her mind reminds her

that the truth is scary.

It could happen




It happens




They need their guns

and they fly their flags proudly,

even if they have to be at half-mast

too often.

My hand would only cover my heart

at that flag

if there were a shooter coming

and I had to protect it

or her.

My child is not your collateral damage.

No more teacher-heroes.

No more kindergarten casualties.

I want my daughter to




Kristen Wood is a mother of five, a writer, a reader, a student, and an aspiring librarian. She has had her work published on Mothers Always Write, and is an ongoing contributor to the online magazine, Still Standing. She is also a proud pop culture geek and a champion napper. She loves to make people laugh and make people think, and if she can do both at the same time, even better.

11 thoughts on “Offshoots- Kristen Wood

  1. Yes, she’s hit the nail on the head with that one- I feel so badly for the kids in America- cannot imagine the grief of the parents who’ve lost a child- am inspired by the speech by teenager Emma Gonzales though- you can all make a difference if you march and protest and rebel together! Thank you for sharing this poem, love and peace from Australia xO G


  2. Bravo, Kid The system is failing us, our children, and the world. We are the way to make it better. Love through all this darkness, Love fully and unconditionally as you do. Your kids, our Grandkids, and all their offspring deserve a world built on love. I love you.


  3. Children’s fears are what remind us of how real these shooting at schools are affecting our lives, and, there’s nothing we can do, but just, keep on reassuring our children, that they’ll be okay, but we really don’t know that, we can only, hope and pray, that these things don’t keep on happening all around in our lives, but they just, keep on, occurring, over, over, and over again.


  4. One of the most difficult things to deal with in my opinion. Explaining fear to those who should have no reason to feel it…and how heartbreaking it is, that they do. Much love and respect!


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