The Flowers in the Alleyway
Julie Ann Shapiro

The man arched his rifle. I covered my ears. The smoke dispersed in the air. He didn't see me. I hid behind the trash can. The news report said he was a sniper. I saw only flowers spewing from his gun. Rounds of red, pink and white roses filled the alleyway behind the McDonald's.
The news said he killed ten people. I saw the rose bushes. The thorns growing on my arms, the leaves curling out of my ears; where some men grew hair, I blossomed. The man re-loaded his gun. I saw daisies, yellow daisies. The news report said children from a preschool had arrived on a bus at McDonald's. They ate their first happy meal with the little plastic toys inside.