Where Someone Grabs Their Purse

i walk into the store

to buy some snacks, a simple thing 

down the aisle my careless eye

a mark of my youth, my faltering attention 

but everything becomes still

when the white man appears

 

he is tall, maybe angry. i am never sure

he walks past me in a second, feeling like years

will he take his vengeance with a blade

will he take his vengeance with a gun

will the chip bag be the last texture

my fingers grace

 

now i brace myself for the worst,,

i hold my breath 

 

i say a prayer

in my mind, i bind myself:

to the “n-word” 

to a burning cross

to the white angry men with hoods and flags

to men who burnt down my churches

to the headlines where my people hang

to the footage of my people crying out in fear 

to my people’s youth being exposed to hatred 

for something they cannot control.

 

he passes behind me, and disappears into the next aisle

 

i breathe again.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
Our world

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