The Bookshelf in My Room By Christian Curet I have a bookshelf in my class Filled with long-forgotten anthologies Collections of wisdom from writers All over the world, but Mostly America. This bookshelf rests by the door Waiting to serve its current purpose, No longer a repository of knowledge That anyone wants to read. It waits to be called into action, To give its life for mine And all of my students. American, Dominican, Native, African and "Other." This bookshelf is there to answer The call, the one that says There is a shooter. It can be wheeled and locked into place In less than ten seconds In front of a door that will be secured with an old length of firehose. Remnants from another fabled American Institution. Those books on that shelf in my class, Those long forgotten anthologies, Can stop a bullet. Or a whole clip. Or five. I know, because I took one Just like it and shot it. I emptied a whole clip into The words and thoughts of dozens Of dead white men. Winchesters came to rest next To Whitman and Hemingway. The irony did not escape me, but I stopped Counting the levels the symbolism Worked on when the chamber was empty. Each round found its way into The heart of the matter Made in the USA. But ultimately, I know, given enough time, A shooter could blow apart my Carefully planned defenses Like Leaves of Grass before A Tempest. That if it came down To it, were a shooter to spend that much time Trying to get to me, or my class, It would give others time, To run. To escape. Hands above heads, Running Toward the wailing sirens of parents Restrained by yellow tape. Running Into the idling vans and hands of police, Hoping not to get shot Full of holes, like The American Dream. Like in all those books.