I Don’t Want to Write Another Uvalde

Jay McClendon

What if she left a door open for the sun?


What if he came into her room, and she knew him, and she said, “hey just sit down and let’s try to talk about this.”


What if I’m driving through a storm and the rain’s so hard all I can see is taillights? 


What if her name is on the TV?


What if her husband chooses the black suit and the maroon tie? Fries an egg, butters his toast. Drinks his first coffee alone in forever. Plays the last voicemail she left him. “Love you, babe. See you soon.” Lets the dog out. What if it paws the ground, looks for her?


What if I emailed her, like I do? What if I pretend she’ll reply? “Just good morning. My roses bloomed. Gonna be 77 today. When’s the last time it rained where you are?”


It must be heaven, because she’s teaching sandcastles. How many grains of sand, iridescent like a hundred billion stars? No diagrams, no boards to wipe, no language or formulas or theories. No calculus to describe change.


What if she makes a paper boat from her lesson plan, sails it out to sea?



Jay McClendon lives in Herndon, Virginia, where he's writer-in-residence at ArtsHerndon. He's a graduate of Auburn University who grew up in and near Birmingham, Alabama, not too far from both the 16th Street Baptist Church and the Little Cahaba River. Yes he does sound like he's from down there somewhere.