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the decade poem

in ten years I will still be afraid of the police, 

his face will still be an invasion, 

proof of my unlasting patriotism 

which is, to be frank, like swallowing 

knives and calling it a fine dinner, 

I am happy to be free of that pain

but there are echoes, there are visions, 

recounting turnips in the salad 

like deities, resurrections of street side views

to myself walking towards the passenger side,

clutching the phone in my hand like a tesbih,

counting towards my father, dialing 

by muscle memory alone,

later on I will pitch my voice in front of the jury,

slide myself one after another,

pajamas, because it was a long drive, 

muslim father … ashamed to tell him … 

he said help me help you,

no gun in the center console,

pushed his seat back,

help me help you,

they said desk work,

they said six other women,

they said desk work, 

they said don’t look his wife in the eyes

she’s here, do you want some water? 

she’s here,

if my hand shakes on the wheel now 

when I pass blinking lights

it doesn’t matter that we won the case.

it doesn’t.


Pınar Yaşar is a writer from Boston, MA. Their work can be found in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Storm Cellar Quarterly, Cathexis Northwest Press, and HVTN. Yaşar is an alum of the Tin House SWW, a Best of the Net nominee, and a 2020 Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Prize finalist. They can be found on twitter: @pinaryasar_