— after Patricia Smith
He looked like a demon
when he turned towards me.
I see demons everywhere, every day,
with hooded intentions. With dark designs.
My job, as Officer Darren Wilson, is to keep the danger at bay
but most of the time I’m scared. I have a gun, but I’m scared.
I have a car and and a partner and backup but I’m scared.
I am the law
but I’m scared for my life every day
of what I do not understand and what I do not control
and what I do not understand I cannot control.
I leave my taser behind because wearing it is uncomfortable and when I feel uncomfortable
bad things happen.
towards what he thought was away—but he forgot
there are no directions that do not lead to me.
There is no angle from which you are not a threat
so I fired. I fired again and again.
he was almost bulking up to run through the shots
like it was making him mad that I was shooting at him.
I shot and shot until the demeanor on his face was blank
and the threat was stopped. I was safe for another day
but not for any longer than that. I see demons every day.
I see his face every day, his demon face, and I fire
and I fire
and I fire but I cannot make him go away,
I cannot make him bleed any more than I already have.
and in my nightmares I shoot
the world full of bullets but it won’t stop turning at me.
(words in italics are taken from the grand jury testimony)
Simon Mermelstein is a poet and performer from Ann Arbor, MI. His poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, RHINO, Spillway, FreezeRay, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Cleaver, Mobius, Radius, The MacGuffin, Poems-For-All and many other places. He's the co-host and -organizer of Ann Arbor Poetry.