Stolen Sonnet

By David Baker

golden shovel after Gwendolyn Brooks

 

Burn this bitch down he
++++++++++++++++++said to us because

hands up one said don’t
++++++++++++++++++shoot
more said but the—

all of us walking
++++++++++++++++++strong poor not-poor—

she said black loud we’re
++++++++++++++++++not detainable were—

our loud sanity
++++++++++++++++++freezing sweaty—

riot is the language
++++++++++++++++++of the unheard and—

I swear he said it’s
++++++++++++++++++not just unpretty—

so it’s not the law
++++++++++++++++++don’t bust my store and—

any handy angel
++++++++++++++++++walk with us they—

shouting pushing but
++++++++++++++++++what about him were—

and stole a pack of
++++++++++++++++++cigarillos
coming—

what did he see when
++++++++++++++++++he saw It now toward—

taking aim running
++++++++++++++++++fast away from him—

 

++++++++++++++++++
so we all went down
++++++++++++++++++in the smoke and fire—

 

About the Author

David Baker is author or editor of 18 books of poetry and criticism, including the forthcoming Swift: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton).  He is poetry editor of The Kenyon Review and teaches at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

This poem first appeared in Tin House (Fall 2015) and is reprinted with permission of the author.


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