Intersections


I am running alone in a park near my apartment. A cop pulls up, sits in his car, windows tinted. The air is violent in my lungs. He watches me run three laps before he calls me over—asks if I mind if he closes the park gate. Asks if I’m military, pointing at my tattoos, which stand out against my sweaty whiteness. When I say no, but my husband is, he straightens his spine and starts story-telling all the servicemen he knows. I am nodding and smiling and leaned in to his passenger window like Pretty Woman. He tells me to buy pepper spray. He asks if I need anything. He says something about someone telling him freedom ain’t free and the pride he takes in his job. I am still smiling as if I am not running though this past week, as if his rhetoric doesn’t sting.

◊◊◊

Louisiana’s Governor is “very proud” of the “moderate” police tactics in response to the recent protests in Baton Rouge.

◊◊◊

This is not about my body. This is about the bodies pinned to the ground, skin skinned against the sidewalk. The deep paper cuts of language—“tensions rise.”

◊◊◊

“I’m not going to hit anybody. I’m not going to shoot anybody… I’m going to articulate myself because this message needs to be heard. This message is important.” A young black woman is grabbed, pulled away from the interview cameras, and arrested by five policemen in full riot gear.

◊◊◊

I held St. Michael in my hands at the vigil – stand up for our children (Daniel) and lead us to war (Revelation).

◊◊◊

Proud: deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of (some)one’s achievements, qualities, or possessions.

The videos show bodies picked up and thrown against the pavement; there is no effective simile. War, maybe. It looks like war.

◊◊◊

If the cop had asked me anything else about myself, maybe I would have said I was thinking about my day at the Rape Crisis Center—about the statistics in this state and that 99% of rapes are committed by men and 60% of those are white, and he was both of those things, and I was alone and afraid.

◊◊◊

Moderate: restrained, tolerant, reasonable, acceptable.

Bodies pushed into chain-linked fences. I dreamt they went through like spaghetti.

◊◊◊

I wish I had told him that I spent last weekend at a Black Lives Matter vigil, and that I’m preparing my curriculum for the fall to discuss racial injustice. I wish I had asked him about “moderate” police tactics, or his definition of pride.

◊◊◊

In three days, Pokémon GO has filled my newsfeed, replacing the cries of black women, black men, and our allied intentions—our posting and reposting and arguing over all and black and black and police.

◊◊◊

The policeman leaves me unharmed, as he always will, if I play along. And the stock markets rise and fall regardless of whose body is bleeding out or whose skin is scraping off.

◊◊◊

The Crisis volunteer trainer asks, What are you most afraid of?

Not using my privilege to affect change, I think.

I write, White men.

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