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Olivia Rose Lanziero Azzolina, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School.
Olivia Rose Lanziero Azzolina, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School.

After Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Awards sonnet:

The hand that trembles uncontrollably,

That grips the gun that fires at an open sea of smiling

Faces. A mouth that shoots the

Words that stop the heartbeat quick; grasp the breathing

In a fist. A fist that punches the eyes of the pure and clean souls

that stepped valiantly out of there

Homes searching for the drug that injected smiles

Onto their faces. The faces that longed for the antidote

To a seemingly incomparable ribbon of pain tied in a perfect bow

By the boy or girl that broke the heart that

Did not know that the drug of happiness that came with

Side effects. The side effect of death that night,

Written on the label plastered to the bottle of sunshine that sat

waiting in a club.

Because love is love, is love, is love.

You love that girl, you love that boy who

Loves that boy, who loves that girl.

The light switch of a life slammed down by the commanding

Barrel of a gun. A gun purchased with a receipt —

be sure to practice gun safety!

But you didn’t listen. Your hatred crept into

Your fingertips. Your chaotic mind, bleeding signals

Dropping like army men. Their parachutes expanding,

Slowing pin-drop thoughts oozing into that

Crooked smile that sees the

Good in your evil actions.

Because love is love, is love, is love.

Olivia Rose Lanziero Azzolina, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, wrote this poem in response to the Orlando tragedy for an English class taught by Aubrey Sherman. Sherman’s class recently completed a series of poetry workshops led by Savon Bartley, a spoken word artist from Urban Word NYC.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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