Tess Taylor is the author of the poetry collections “Work & Days,” “The Forage House” and most recently, “Rift Zone” and “Last West: Roadsongs for Dorothea Lange.” Views expressed in this commentary are solely hers. Read more opinion articles on CNN. (CNN)2019 and 2020 had already been difficult years, crisis and adrenaline wise, in our household. During the summer, when I was a visiting poet at a residency out of state, an angry, confused woman wandered into my class and said: “I have three guns and I want to use ’em.” We all froze. It wasn’t totally clear if she had the guns, and in this world, at this moment, it didn’t have to be. We each know that, when we teach in America, we are already in danger.I was dizzy with fear. My husband and kids were a few rooms away. The woman, who later turned out to be a schizophrenic without access to her medications, was, by some force, wrestled out and escorted away, then put in a hospital for observation, in a step that was actually safer for everyone than any one of us pressing charges. My class went on; we talked about poems. I’d teach for


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