Not in the white men riots of the past,

but yesterday

a man was shot in the back by a police officer.

She was white, he black, she was a medic

who didn’t help him, nor did the others who arrived.

For minutes they watched while they could have

saved him but for his skin.

I try to imagine watching a man die

because they fear or hate his darkness

never thinking of theirs

or a human born in the wrong color,

a man who had no weapon, not even words,

the man who began his day like any other day,

saying to his wife, Helene, I’ll be back early today.

I’m taking you out for Mother’s Day.

I love you, babe. She sat under the lamp with her tea,

finishing the hem of their daughter’s jeans

before she left for work. The pictures on the table

of their children, beautiful, smart, loved,

and it scares a father when they are learning to drive.

Does it scare you what she thinks as she stands,

watching the man lose blood and die?

That she might get in trouble? That she won’t?