Volume 30, Number 3

Bleeding Out

What price each drop of blood,
gushing from the hole
where the bullet ripped through your skin?

What price fear
as you lay on the ground,
paramedics working frantically
to stop the bleeding
before loading you onto a gurney?

What price the ambulance
rushing you to the emergency room,
lights flashing, siren blaring?

What price the doctors and nurses
who try to take out the bullet
and sew you back together again?

What price trauma haunting you
for the rest of your life,
or your loved ones' grief
if you do not survive at all?

What price the future,
bleeding from your young body?

* * *

Note: According to a recent study, an average of 8300 children are treated for gunshot wounds in emergency rooms every year, at a cost of $270 million dollars per year. That does not include the cost of ongoing care or the costs incurred by parents.

—Lucinda Marshall