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The Arithmetic of Individuality Obscures the Much-Too-Young [6]

who can say how these things go? something in the water—a root consciousness—bubbling to the surface and we name you—the children—you were all much too young, & you must / we won’t let the arithmetic define you—kiss of arithmetic for children so young—byebye, waved the mother & kissed you obscure—you were young, and to be young is to know that you must / we won’t let obscurity define you—you were brave! competitive! & extremely kind—you were Taylor & Jessica & Joshua & Samantha—hakuna matata Daniel! hakuna matata Emily! spending time with your family was listed as your favorite thing to do—Brittany, who, Andrew, who now—all young and being brave now, Andrew who—we won’t / you must have your own plan: being  children won’t do


[6] from an article on the UC Santa Barbara shootings in which Janet Napolitano, the University of California president and former secretary of homeland security, called the shooting an “unfathomable tragedy” and encouraged the crowd to remember and celebrate the unique qualities of each of the students who were killed. “All died much too young,” Napolitano said. “It’s important that we don’t let the arithmetic of this tragedy define them. Their individuality should not be obscured.”

Posted 07/08/15
published in the 2014 anthology, Lilac City Fairytales, ed. Sharma Shields
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