A Simple Explanation After Another Shooting

The doctors and nurses of the man

filled with a hatred so virulent

that it came out as bullets

from a gun

were Jewish.

They tended the madman’s wounds

as they were yelled at, threatened, spat upon

because of their faith.


“What does it mean to be Jewish?”

my five-year-old asks.

I don’t know for sure,

but I answer anyways.

I think it means exactly

what those doctors and nurses did:

to care for all humans,

to speak mercifully to all humans,

to tend to those no one wants to

in their time of need

even when their confusion,

their hatred,

their division is directed at you.


“What does it mean to be Christian?”

the one who never stops thinking asks.


“Same,” I answer.


“Hindu same, do you think?”


“I think yes.”


“Muslim same?”


“Same, I think.”


“Same same, same same,”

the 7-year-old says her phrase,

the one she says so often

when finding the similarities between us all,

the phrase I think about all of the time

in all of the horrible messes

we have to find our humanity in.

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Anne FlavinComment