This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features a poem by Christopher Soto.
7:00AM I wake with no sleep. Yellow tape is wrapped around my block.
Tony died. Bullet holes in the car windows. Glass on the floor.
9:00AM I have a panic attack while driving to work. All the windows open
Inside of me. Can’t find my breath. Too much wind.
1:00PM The horses go running through my mind. My student says
She wouldn’t believe police if they told her the sky is blue.
6:00PM Home isn’t safe but it’s the only place to go. Children jump hop-
Skotch near used needles.
11:00PM A woman is jumped on the sidewalk. Crush is the sound of head on
Concrete. I hear a man yell “You got a gun? You got a gun!”
11:30PM To avoid stray bullets I push my furniture against the window then
Drop my mattress onto the floor. [What is a dream but the place we
Both meet? I keep having nightmares].
10:00AM Javier isn’t answering his phone. Jorge says that gentrification
Leads to increased police presence. I’m why he died.
1:00PM Am I allowed to write this poem?
Sorrow feels like an iceberg // floating alone into the sea.
8:00PM Heaven never felt so far.
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