I remember learning
a typical museum visitor
spends an average of 15 seconds looking at a work of art.
I stop not to graze
But feast in your eyes.
In this graveyard of lives cut short
I am stopped by the silence of your black matter,
that gentle lilt of the head.
Your gaze sears through
to the part of my brain that whispers stop.
That cries stop.
I am sorry that no one was there
To beg Stop
put down that gun.
I am sorry that I was not there
to behold your loving eyes,
to comfort that gentle lilt
of your head, the last
15 seconds of your life.
Tobie Hoffman Feb 20, 2022
Written in the workshop My Soul to Yours: A Poetry Workshop with Cathy Cohen based on the Soul Shots Souls Shot Portrait Project: Portraits of Victims of Gun Violence at Beth Am Israel Congregation Penn Valley PA