so what are we looking at here,
a vacated supreme court seat or prison,
or more like shame outrage shame again
and people never having to pay for crimes
committed in secret. It’s not that we don’t believe you. You’re very credible,
but also, he—
jot down the sequence of what always happens with these things.
testify to quiet traumas that follow you around.
ford the river in order to cross it safely.
i spend my days telling my friends, women,
you’re allowed, you’re allowed, you’re allowed.
what sounds like a song is really an alarm
for when you’ve stretched out the moment too long,
it’ll soon break. there’s gray light through the trees
and the Harlem YMCA letters glow red-gold and furious—
no, that’s you at what you cannot change, and what you won’t.
remember the age you were when you realized people could lie
deeply and fully from the broken sides of their mouths?
i walked along the bluff, by the city college, and stared at the tops of buildings
the wrong view of new york, the bad picture,
the staying here and staying here and staying.
there’s a point here i think. there’s a way out.
what sounds like an alarm
is really a song.
P. Claire Dodson is a writer from Tennessee currently living in New York City. Her poetry has been published in Public Pool, Sara Benincasa’s The Stories, One Trick Pony Review, and more. She’s also an editor at Teen Vogue, and her journalism work has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Fast Company.