On Our Way Back From the Protest

By Shawn R. Jones

Featured art: Untitled by Mariama Condé

The officer approaches. Keith keeps both hands
on the steering wheel. Clicks his tongue

against his teeth six times—
a tune of feigned assurance.

The trooper walks back to his car.
Keith takes his hands off the wheel.

I am the first to speak. I ask if he thinks
the cop is going to give us a ticket.

The man who answers, I don’t know,
is not my husband. He is not the man

who killed the wolf spider on the windowsill.
Not the man who grabbed a snake by its tail,

carried its body, wiggling to the ravine. Not the man
who beat down a thief twice his size in our home.

Not Keith who danced at the end of the protest
like it was a Sunday in New Orleans’ Congo Square

Or the man who arranged hydrangeas
tenderly, steadily beside his father’s casket.

No. Tonight, he becomes Freddie,
Breonna, Botham, George.

Eyes the cop through the rearview mirror.
Puts both hands back on the steering wheel.

Drums the leather with his thumbs. 

Shawn R. Jones is the owner and operator of Tailored Tutoring LLC and Kumbaya Academy, Inc. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Womb Rain (Finishing Line Press 2008) and A Hole to Breathe (Finishing Line Press 2015). Her work has also appeared in Essence, River Heron Review, Guesthouse, Typehouse, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Rutgers-Camden and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

4 thoughts on “On Our Way Back From the Protest

  1. I am taken by the way you control my state of being. The hold that you have of my nerves in this passage leaves me wanting/not wanting more. Thank you for being a light to our passage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s