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Artwork by Indigo McClain

Our Point of View

A Poem by Nyssa Jones from Soldan

I. I Waited


My knees felt like they were kneeling on rice.

The cold autumn breeze ran through my legs and my dress several times.

My hands, behind my back,

tied by cold metal.

On the back of my head was iron, ready to burn.


I waited for the lead to go through my skull

I waited for my blood to stain the pavement.

I waited for the sirens to get close.

I waited for my body to run cold,

I waited for the body bag that I’ll sit in for days.

I waited to see the thing, voice, or person who made me.

I waited for the protest to happen.

I waited for my name and face to be plastered on tv and social media. I waited

for my mother to have my obituary in her hands.


Waited for my face to be on shirts, hoodies, and posters,

but not on a graduation photo.

I waited for my father to regret not being there.

I waited for my tombstone to be put next to my grandmother’s.

I waited for this nightmare to end,

a dream that spiraled out of control.

I waited, and waited.,

But reality set in— this was my fate.

I was another hashtag, another song lyric,

another innocent black kid just stepping foot into the world.

Another child that will never see graduation day, prom night, or even college. My humble wait

for the world was taken away the moment the officer asked: “License and registration, Ma’am.”


II. I’m Scared


I turned on my sirens,

waiting for the driver to pull over.

Just yesterday, Williams had to tase a driver for getting out of his car.

“I reacted too fast,” he claimed.

Afraid of what the driver would do,

my heart pounded as I stepped out my cruiser,

praying I would only give them a ticket.


I’m scared for myself.

I’m unwilling to look like the enemy again.


I’m terrified of the power I hold in the metal glued beside me,

waiting for its first chance to set off.

I’m afraid my badge will be a threat.

I’m unsettled my family won’t look at me the same and

horrified by the threatening phone calls at night.

I’m fearful of the harassment that my children will receive.

I’m agitated I won’t be able to show my face in the city that I have loved since I was young, the

sole reason I joined the force.

I was unprepared for what happened next.

I’m terrified I’ll hesitate too late, that my own life will be taken away.

I’m unwilling to act too early, worried I won’t get the full story.


And I didn’t.


Too scared of what would happen if I did. In the moment, I didn’t know what to think.

I just knew she was frantic.

She asked too many questions.


I felt like she was hiding something.

I didn’t know that she just started driving.

I didn’t know she got accepted to her number one school.

I didn’t know she was an honors student.

All she wanted to know was why she was pulled over.

She wanted to get home to her mother that kept calling her,

but I postponed her, didn’t I?

I took her from her family. Again,

taking her dream of being successful,

her dream to help people,

just like me.

A dream that ended when I asked,

“License and registration, Ma’am.”