Thoughts & Prayers

Sarah McMahon
3 min readJun 7, 2024

This is another poem in my recently released book Dirt Girl. You can find the entire collection on Amazon here, or find the audiobook on Chirp here.

when I was young, I’d sit and watch my father clean his gun

a Winchester 70 he used to hunt deer

I didn’t place guns and fear in the same sentence, then

kept my innocence

when we were young we went to school every day

said the Pledge of Allegiance an American flag hanging from the chalkboard

freedom isn’t free they say

this is the land of the brave home of the great

when we were young Mrs. Johnson gave us popsicles to welcome summer break

red rings of sweetness framing our faces

red like Midwest sunsets

red like a target

red like blood

and we sang God bless America land that I love

when I was young I learned about war in a theoretical sense

learned that my grandfather was in Vietnam and worked on Navy ship

but he never talks about it, he can’t

witnessing murder buries a hurt so deep it bleeds into everything