Content Warning: police brutality, blood
you’ll wake screaming.
at four in the morning
a panic, rising and ripening,
will rip itself free,
until your throat bleeds.
your roommate will jump out of bed
thinking of three numbers
and a dial tone,
she’ll ask you what’s wrong
but you won’t know.
the dream had just been there,
but once you look for it in the sweaty sheets,
and only weeks later,
cutting strawberries at the counter,
will you see that the horror wasn’t housed
in that world, asleep.
it came from the one with morning sun
and strawberry seeds.
for weeks, you’ll wake each day to screams.
you’ll wake to a tank rolling down your street,
and tear gas staining the summer breeze.
you’ll shut every window to keep it all out,
as every fan you can get your hands on
disperses the violence,
dries the tears,
but still you can’t breathe.
you’ll wake to screams
not your own
and scroll for hours through the world’s pain,
in a way you’ll come to envy
with such lack of sleep.
there will be riots and injustice and disaster and disease
a hatred so deep,
you won’t know how to even begin
but if this is what it takes
to put the dirt under your fingernails
to get you into those streets
then what’s a little lost sleep?
for the first time
in the privilege of your life
it will be your city
burns shoots screams
and for a single moment in that sudden,
you’ll be everyone else’s voice.
when the scream comes,
it comes from somewhere.
let it out,
and don’t go back to sleep.