How Nonviolence Protects the State by Cady Vishniac


title after Peter Gelderloos, South End Press, 2007


In our office, the male TAs talked gun control,
the necessity thereof,

and I chewed sunflower seeds
to keep my mouth closed. That was the day

someone threatened
to shoot up the university.

I wanted to say
gun control is too easy,

an answer for people who trust cops
to use guns on their behalf,

who, even unarmed, can overpower
the opposing sex. It’s too easy,

but I’m difficult.
And see? Our killer

was a dud. He didn’t
even show up. My idea of gun control is only women

own firearms. In order to save themselves,
men learn to look us in the eyes.


Cady Vishniac is a first-year MFA at The Ohio State University. Her poems appear in Rust + Moth and Sugar House Review, and her fiction won the 2015 Alexander Cappon Prize at New Letters.