By Joan Wiese Johannes
When the shooting starts,
my guardian angel will try to pull me up
onto a toilet beside her, but I have seen
enough adventure films to know
the shooter is going to push on the stall door,
and when he
(yes, the shooter is going to be male)
finds it locked, he will shoot through it.
So, I will push my angel ahead of me
behind the door between us and the shooter,
and when the shooting stops
and approaching footsteps warn me
that I am about to fight for my life,
I will raise the plunger grabbed from a stall,
whack the gun out of his hands,
and smack him full in the face
with a left-hand-dominant swing like the one
that took out Andy Arneson’s teeth when we
played softball in fourth grade phy ed.
Then I will grab the gun and hold him
at gunpoint until the police arrive,
which should be soon, since everyone
has a cellphone and concealed weapon.
Now, in the few safe seconds I have left,
I glance at my guardian angel and see
a Mona Lisa smile on her alabaster face.
I want to have faith in her, want to believe,
but I won’t be able to trust her with my life.
She may be bulletproof, but I am not.
Joan Wiese Johannes has four chapbooks, including Sensible Shoes, the 2009 winner of the John and Miriam Morris Chapbook contest sponsored by the AL Poetry Society, and He Thought the Periodic Table Was a Portrait of God, published by Finishing Line Press. Winner of the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest and the Triad Contest Sponsored by the WI Fellowship of Poets, her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies. She co-edited the 2012 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar and the Winter 2019 issue of Bramble with her husband Jeffrey. They live in Port Edwards, WI.