Danny Caine

add brother add brother add house
subtract mother years ago add father
still at work add his gun add accident

add announcement during homeroom
add hole in the seating chart add
counselor in the lunchroom add
counselor in teacher lunchroom
add suits add car flags add handshake line
add year off for the brother who remains

add questions: what do I say
to the father over our first handshake—
that I just started teaching so my only
significant memory is busting him
for plagiarism before he became
a hole in my seating chart, a hole
in his family? What do I say / to
the people who want me to change
the seating chart? The people who don’t?

I was a teacher—I was supposed
to have the answers. I taught English,
not math, but I'll give this a shot—
do not subtract father, do not subtract
even more sons, do not subtract house,
I guess that leaves a gun.









"Gun Math" is a true story and an attempt to reckon with simple arithmetic: more guns equals more gun violence, so by the transitive property, fewer guns equals less gun violence. Some people disagree; I do not. Further reading: Jamaal May's ["The Gun Joke"] and Erika Meitner's ["Dollar General"].