It was through the alley behind our houses
That permitted us to move stealthily
We were able to sneak up on the thieves
Take them alive, without shooting, sometimes
Playing cops and robbers, our siren whoops,
Imagining the flash of red and blue lights
At other times, when the thieves had escaped,
We had to investigate for clues, find some insight
Into how they had escaped us, leading us to track them
Block by block, peering over back fences
Until we found them and brought them to justice
Then our shift was over, we self-styled heroes
We might as well give them / a permit to shoot up
Shift the blame away from ourselves / and onto them
The alley is long enough / that our view from the street is blocked
And the lights are broken / casting shadows, hiding clues
They have the insight / to find and use this location
Wear long sleeves / to cover their tracks
We walk by, secure in the sirens / and flashing red and blue lights
We style ourselves compassionate / but we’re as alive as they are
When did that shift happen? Were there clues
That was the direction we were heading?
When did our light dim? When did our alleys darken?
When did we permit tracking and profiling?
Why did we style some blocks as safe?
And others where shootings took place?
Where sirens wailed and families cried
Because one of theirs was no longer alive.
Did we lack insight? Or was it something else
That we lacked to find within ourselves for others?
/ / /
This trio of connected poems was written using the twelve words of Wordle 403 at The Sunday Whirl.