Only when the white woman
returning from the shopping trip
toddler in the back
groceries in the trunk
gets pulled over for the air freshener
dangling from the rear view mirror

Only when two cops
one on either side
shouting through closed windows
guns drawn
aim at her head

Only when they yell
“Step outside.”
“Hands where I can see them.”
“Step outside.”
“Hands on the steering wheel.”
“Out of the car!”
“Hands where I can see them!”

Only when she realizes
that she cannot unfasten her seatbelt
without dying
that she must do nothing but
then she dies anyway
while her baby cries

Only when that happens
might she see that
there but for the chance of
some melanin that she could be
Sandra Bland
Breonna Taylor
Bettie Jones
Janet Wilson

Only when

Only, when?


Painting: Source