Was there a moment of panic
when the sirens went off that
you realized the imminent danger
is not who you are but what you are?
You feel the coarse line that divides both
includes and excludes from those who speak.
So you sit silently at the steering wheel,
pushing the edge of anxiety down,
saying to yourself that maybe you are wrong.
What you feel: the line that divides you
and this cop who’s heading toward you
isn’t there at all.
That out of fear, you are imagining,
you are the jaded one, that
you need to open your eyes.
Then you see it: the white-hot anger
boiling just beneath the surface of
his skin as he pulls out his gun,
aimed at you.
Your arms are raised.
You are listening intently to him.
But, all you hear is silence.
This is the kind of silence
that you prayed to never hear,
the kind of silence that echoes in
a 4 by 6 cell,
the kind of silence that snaps
the spirit in half and bends
the will of time.
This is how a man comes undone
against a man who needs to be right.
When the clouds shift for one last time,
in the blaring silence, shouting, pleading,
a final moment of weighing, then a shot.
The one on the right sitting
squarely on the line owning it,
guarding it with eyes of fiery.
The one on the left, standing
just to the left of it, tired,
wounded, shocked to see
the conviction on the other side.
Our humanity is our humanity,
is our humanity, is our humanity,
is our humanity that knows
This line, its restrictions, its bounds
that severs air from life,
that pinches our wounds,
that doesn’t allow for our blood
to circulate is our curse.
It suffocates all of us.
We are purple.
We are hungry.
We are hungry for a life that is draining
swiftly from our faces.
A child of hunger can only cry,
unable to cross the line,
unable to be freed from
the sticky universe of wants.
You are right if you really want
to just be right.
But, you are not right and neither
am I wrong.
We are both silenced, muted, and bound.
But, we are no longer children.
And, we are both humanity’s
best hope to reach the soul
of another, and another,
and another, until the line
disappears into the horizon.