On the anniversary of the Las Vegas mass shooting, Alissa Quart shares a poem about gun violence.

The U.S. is a country plagued by gun violence. Its shadow looms everywhere — over school hallways, movie theaters, concert venues and homes. On this day two years ago, a mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival saw 59 killed and 527 injured. The statistics are sobering; the causes, well documented. But these horrific acts of violence are often met with the same empty words from political leaders, who offer “thoughts and prayers” but so little in the way of tangible solutions.

Author Alissa Quart’s book of poetry, Thoughts and Prayers, explores the darkness and numbness that is such a part of our current political existence.

As Quart told Teen Vogue, “The title poem is composed of the public language around mourning over school shootings in the U.S. or from political leaders and Web sites. I also sifted through the language that politicians of both parties tweet, what kids themselves said about mass shootings, and the words companies use in fabricating souvenirs that commodify mass killings.”

Read the full poem here.

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