A Threat so Great

[Content warning: violence, state violence, police killings of Black women]

Alexia Christian. Say her name.

Alexia Christian was killed at 26,
handcuffed in the back of a police car.
But somehow produced a gun and fired,
somehow posed a threat that required her death.

Handcuffed in the back of a police car,
Alexia was clearly an uncontainable force,
a threat so great nothing but her death would do.

Alexia was clearly an uncontainable force.
Her arresting officers saw no other options.
A threat so great nothing but her death would do,
and so they killed her.

The arresting officers saw no other option but murder.
Those officers, both Black men, could only imagine her death
and so they killed her.
And so they killed her.

Those two Black policemen only envisioned her death.
Not a wounding, not a stun, only death,
and so they killed her.
One more count on the slide to zero.

Not a wounding, not a stun, only death.
Two Black men killed a Black woman.
One more count on the slide to zero.
Don’t they know? Their numbers are in the count, too.

Two Black men killed a Black woman.
Every one of us deserves better, deserves to live.
Don’t they know their numbers are in the count, too?
Don’t they know?

Every one of us deserves to live.
“Protect and serve” should include us all.
Don’t they know?
Don’t they know?


Pantoum — A poem of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the next stanza. The final line can be a repeat of the first line of the poem.

Say Her Name — A movement calling attention to police violence against Black women, girls and femmes. Fill the void. Lift your voice. Say her name.


It’s National Poetry Month! Every April for almost the full life of this blog, I have taken on the challenge of writing a poem a day. A year or so in, I upped the ante ton the challenge and decided to choose a specific poetry form each year and write that form for the month — 30 tanka, 30 rhyme royals, etc. It’s been a hard slog most years, as I struggle mightily with writing poetry, with feeling “allowed” to try writing poetry. So why make it harder by adding onto the base 30/30 challenge? Well, that’s kind of who I am, isn’t it? I continue.

napomo 1

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