9-5

Location

i carry my right leg

over the curb

and continue down W Michigan.

cars drive past

me and toward the intersection,

then past the hospital,

then somewhere else.

at my side,

a deli that no longer

was a deli, just

a vacant, empty edifice.

the words “BLACK LIVES

MATTER” plastered as art on the

side of it. the ghost building

now injected with

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 “SHE DOESN’T LOVE YOU!” his voice sharpens like

a dull knife in a barren space. i angle my

head down

and glare at my hands. none

of the creases parallel, nor ordered, just

there. blue ink soaked in my fingertips from

earlier, now fading to match the caliber

of a very dim summer sky. “SHE CAN’T HANDLE

YOUR PARANOIA” his volume growing and

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a bit of empathy, because of the

graffiti. i continue, and turn on Water St,

almost there. i look down at the ground

as my feet swing

over the sidewalk cracks with no

conscious thought.

over

over and

over and over

and

over

i begin to hear

a sequence of thuds from behind me, and as i turn

my head toward the

sound, a

man

sprints past

me and around

the coroners building. i

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eyes fluttering. his frustration overwhelming

him with a billow

of light animosity. hundreds of thin lines,

almost unnoticeable, scattered on the

faces of my palms. as i flip

them i examine my fingernails, and notice the

lack of pattern

in the way they’re bitten. “ARE YOU LISTENING

TO ME?” my vision now blurring, i close my eyes

and

reply

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stop walking, and hear a muffled argument

with strewed shouts. i pick up my anchor

feet and make a costive turn

around

the

corner. i see the man

drenched over

the sidewalk curb with his

henna cheeks

grazing the

heather street.

a county

police officer

sidestepping over the

man’s body, over

the curb,

to lock his arms

in what appears an uncomfortable

bind. his arms resembling

wings as the officer

applies handcuffs on

them, with a blank and

tethered brim. his hands curled

in a ball of derision,

twitching and

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candid, “i understand andrew, could you

give me a minute?” he draws his callous eyes away

and leaves the room. i see her face in the

crease of the door as he opens it, but dissolving as he

shuts it. i

scan at it until i grow tired, and begin to look at my

hands again.

over and over

i close and open them,

gazing at the prompt pace my muscles

tense and then rest. my awe deafens the argument that

is being held outside the room between

them. i shut my eyes, and stand up and

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compressing into a

lamina of fear. from about

20 feet i watch as his creases, branded on his

palms, tighten and shake. all while the

officer speaks racial slurs under his inane

breath. he

angles his head

down at the man below him,

letting his gravid disgust display

on the sweat running down

his face. i walk away and

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look at the door. 

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