On Writing

#NPM22 – The Intimacy of the Pepper Spray Incident

The Intimacy of the Pepper Spray Incident
A hiabun

the knock on the door says hurryhurryhurry
once opened, it is a mouth swallowing fire

two teens, male, one shirtless
eyes bursting angry reds
tears and snot and terror

I take an elbow, skin cold
body shivering
lead him to the bathroom sink

J takes the other
leads a curving spine
to the kitchen sink

E gathers their backpacks
jackets, a thick forest of burning spice
it fills the space with chaos
I bring it all outside

cold water runs out in the bathroom
so he shifts to the other sink in the kitchen
dousing and splashing and coughing and soaking

a mound of wet paper towels in the garbage can
layer of dirt on the back of his pants
green latex gloves from the ambulance attendant
talk about knives, a sling-shot with the police officer

their mother in loud-pitched language – pacing
eyes finally open, throats clear
fearfearfear

after violence
touch is inevitable
his elbow, my palm


This piece is based on a true incident that occurred yesterday afternoon just outside the park. The kids are safe and okay. Thank you to the quick response from Windsor Police and Ambulance. Help was swift and kind. Spread love and kindness…

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