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How You Got Here

for Tamir

12 is the cinder: bright-

eyed boy w/pellet gun,

the coffin of plastic things,

(draw & aim

draw & aim).

Face immortalized

in perpetual smile, the soft

space a soccer ball lands. Swear

it was&nbsp an accident,

so boys say, same

ones crying

That’s the same thing you had on yesterday!

What’s wrong?

Ya Momma ain’t got no money?

How low we are,


2 seconds after cruiser

exit. Memory—

your insides escaping

through the hole

of a single slug. Ghost,

missing, black

helium rising,

angel wings fixed

to the back of your hoodie, ascension

on a random

city block.

It is November.

Cleveland is cold

as Cleveland often is.

The story is just that:

12-year-old you

falsely armed, the cops

falsely alarmed.

from dying in the scarecrow’s armsFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2018
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Mitchel L.H. Douglas Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.