Alphabet Poem

Arif Qazi |

Arif Qazi |


The difference between my life and yours is this: When I was pulled over once by a cop for running a stop sign, and before he got to my car I’d taken my phone out of my purse to let my kid know I’d be late coming home, what the cop did was warn me not to be digging my hand in my purse with a cop’s face in the driver’s window. The difference between my life and yours is that I put the phone back and sat looking out at the traffic while the cop wrote the ticket, and in the end I got home only twenty minutes later than when I had promised.


Do you think I’m at peace with this? A woman I know and her dog saw a man shot in the back by a cop at the end of the block they live on, and for no reason. They were walking and suddenly their block became a warfield. Before that, she had thought of the day as simple. Before that, she had been planning just to go home, take the leash off the dog, make coffee, put on her yellow sweater.


Then the police were everywhere. Then it became a question of what she had seen and how many times she could tell it. Then it was clear that her life had become this man, who was dead.


There were cameras and people cleaning the street of his blood, which was everywhere. It didn’t seem possible that so much blood could have come from a single body. Even when the ambulance took him away it seemed the blood kept flowing. It flowed from the stores, the doorways. It flowed from the hydrants that should have been filled with water. Even by afternoon, everyone who set foot on that block had begun to bleed.

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Source Citation

Tikkun 2016 Volume 31, Number 4: 34-35


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