Are those gunshots or fireworks

Was that the cops

I just heard

Or is it that I’ve heard those sirens so much

that they are scratched into my brain

Why do I know those sounds so well

When I learned about police brutality

I was young

A little too young

I was scared

And confused

And I didn’t understand

I’ve had this fear of looking stupid

Of seeming stupid my whole life

So I didn’t ask any questions

But I had so many

What did he do?

Why did they kill him?

Why did they shoot him down where he stood?

Why didn’t the police help them?

Can I still wear my hoodies?

I like them

they’re comfortable.

But I am not allowed to be comfortable

I need to be alert at all times

I need to make sure I am never caught doing anything suspicious

When I see an officer

I need to say yes sir or no sir

Yes ma’am or no ma’am

my hands cannot be in my pockets

I cannot play with water guns in the street

Only in the back yard

Never wear all black

Don’t smile too hard

Or look too mad

Don’t sigh and don’t blink

Or speak unless spoken to

Because when your mama kissed your forehead

She was praying that her baby comes back safely

My big brother wanted to be a police officer and when I found out about this

I wondered why my brother would want that

Why he’d want to be like one of those heartless men


I am still scared

And confused

And I do not understand


Poetry Slam: 
This poem is about: 
My family


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