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In A Bloodless Country
I have lived in this place for fourteen years,
and I am told this was once a bloodless country.
But now I watch Americans open
Their doors and their phones to watch a cop ask a black boy for his driver’s license.
When the boy reaches for his wallet, the cop
Into the car.
I am told this was once a bloodless country. I am told it is still one.
Everyone puts away their phones and does things:
picking the kids up from soccer,
buying postage stamps
walking the dog.
I am told this is a bloodless country, in which a boy shot by the police is left on the sidewalk for hours.
He does not make the body bag look stylish.
His hands and eyes and mouth are broad and gaping,
the most weaponless body I have ever seen.
But we just watch.
And we watch others just watch,
and we justify ourselves in our watching.
The body of the boy lies on the ground
exactly the way you would expect the body of a boy to lie--
uneasily, loudly, arrogantly.
I am told this is a bloodless country, one that rips open its’ citizens bodies, effortlessly, the way the President cuts his hair.
It is a bloodless country.
The boy’s body lies wide-open on the sidewalk,
and the rest of us are doing the difficult work of doctor appointments,
and soccer practice,
of remembering to make a salad for dinner: lettuce, tomatoes, dressing, pepper.
The boy’s body is spilling over the ground
and we are spilling chicken broth into soup pots.
This is the hard work of suburbia, and I am told this is a bloodless country.
I do not hear the gunshots
and I do not open my phone,
But I watch the birds protest, I watch their small black bodies splash over the city.
How bloodless this country is
as the street spins on its gory axis.