Issue 9.3 – Poetry

Issue 9 - Poetry (2)


Lasted 45 seconds

before I shut the video off.

It was her scream

rattling my ears,

the sight of Denise Collins’ right arm

in the police K-9’s jaw.


Tried to watch it

a second time,

sound muted.

Clicked pause

after five seconds

of her mouth, her eyes

opened wide,

twisted in terror.

Took two tissues

to wipe away

my tears, their salt stuck to

the lenses of my glasses,

before I could finish writing this

about another black body,

an innocent one,

belonging to a 52-year-old woman

whose left hand was amputated

when she was a baby,

badly injured in a fire.

The dog’s name is Gabe.

Short for Gabriel?

The name means “God’s messenger”.

He was the angel who

told Mary about the coming of Jesus.

Police had him on a 20-foot leash,

looking for two robbery suspects.


That September morning,

Ms. Collins had been

behind her own home in St. Paul

(what kind of letter might he have written about this).


Gabe’s bite so strong,

he pulled her out of her shoes.


The police assisted her immediately,

but Gabe tightened his grip on her arm at first,

as if seized by spirits of his brother bloodhounds–

I finally got one,

and I’m not letting go,

there’s no rabbit grease,

muddy water,


to stop me.


Police went to visit her in the hospital,

apologized, and

Police Chief Todd Axtell’s heart,

was broken by the footage.

And who knows why

officers let the dog walk around

a blind corner in a residential area,

first in line.


Ms. Collins is suing

Officer Thaddeus Smith.

Couldn’t even change

her dressings herself.

Nothing will make the bite marks

on her right arm,

lower left leg disappear, and


am adding

taking out one’s own trash

to the lengthening list

of things I cannot safely do

17504472_10211517994972994_4347306791949641053_o (1)Carla M. Cherry, an English teacher and poet from New York City, has been published in Anderbo, For Harriet, Obscura, Dissident Voice, Random Sample Review, Eunoia Review, MemoryHouse Magazine, Down In The Dirt, In Between Hangovers, Picaroon Poetry, Firefly Magazine, Street Light Press, and an upcoming issue of Ariel Chart. She has published three books of poetry with Wasteland Press: Gnat Feathers and Butterfly Wings (2008), Thirty Dollars and a Bowl of Soup (2017), and Honeysuckle Me (2017). Connect with Carla at her website and on Twitter: @carla_bronxpoet

One Comment Add yours

  1. Emily James says:

    This poem is breathtaking and heartbreaking at once. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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