Emily Rose Cole is the author of Love & a Loaded Gun, a chapbook of persona poems in the voices of mythological and historical women, published in 2017 by Minerva Rising Press. She has received awards from Jabberwock Review, Philadelphia Stories, The Orison Anthology, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in American Life in Poetry, Best New Poets 2018, Carve, and River Styx, among others. She holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is a PhD candidate in poetry with a focus in Disability Studies at the University of Cincinnati, where she is a Taft Fellow. Her website is .
Finalist, 2019-2020 COG Poetry Awards
In the event of another mass shooting,
Emily Rose Cole
we’ll offer condolences in soundbites & status
updates. On every outlet, shaken citizens,
disc jockeys, slick-haired comedians & politicians
will stand with [location here]. We’ll rememorize
that same pat speech about how, as a country,
despite deep national fatigue, we’ll cleave
together despite this unexpected new
tragedy; how we are all [areligious present
participle] & [religious present participle] for the victims
& their families, who will recover (eventually), how
our [positive adjective] nation is greater than hate, etc.
Mention will be made, probably, of mental health
care. Pundits will argue about whether terrorist
is an appropriate label. Memes will be processed.
Other pundits (or perhaps the same ones) will recite,
angrily, the second amendment. We will reinforce our
mythologies. Sign petitions. Delicately craft emails. Insert
credit card information. Congress will deliberate.
In the midst of everything, hope
will take whatever form it will:
petrichor, shed snakeskin, a good song
on the radio, second harvest, crocuses whorled
through snow, a kitten’s just-opened eye.
We’ll look to our children. Or our nieces.
Or that brown-eyed boy down the street, almost
six now, & wonder whether, in twenty years,
or fifty, this problem will have finally resolved itself.
Whether, perhaps, a jarred door, or a burst cork,
or the hard clatter of any heavy thing falling
will sound, to him, less like a gunshot.
Ode on Small Things
Emily Rose Cole
Praise to the airplane’s early arrival, the lone olive
fattened with gin, the stranger helping me muscle
my luggage into the bin. Praise to the unburgled
apartment, the unexploded buzzbomb that never
killed my great-grandfather, the jittering bat
released, unharmed, into the summer swelter.
Everywhere, everywhere, a wonder—sing glory
to the compassion of children. To the pastured
filly shimmying in the ryegrass, to the architecture
of eiderdown, the complex firing of a synapse.
To the rough cough interrupting Handel’s
Messiah, praise. Hosanna to the body’s indispensable
frailty. How vulnerable we are. How luminous.