Calling the Police

by Andrew Michael Roberts

It was night, and we were lost. We called the police.
Hello, they said, this is the police, we have sidearms and
stunners and black cars and shackles, and we know
how to use them.

There was a silence.

We said, We are afraid.

The police said, You have a right to be afraid. You have a
right to be afraid of one another in the dark and also to
be silent. And also the right to speak of your silence, but
it may be used against you.

But we are lost amongst each other, we said. We’ve lost
sight of what we believe.

The police said, Well, we have badges you see, which give
us authority, and we have the laws, which make us right:
and you, you have this new loneliness that blooms in
those who have lost their beliefs.

It was a night of no moon. The city was growing
indistinct. We could hear the echoes of faint breaths
around us, but we could no longer find one another in
the dark.

There was a silence.

But we are lost, we said.


Andrew Michael Roberts is the author of something has to happen next, which was awarded the Iowa Poetry Prize, and good beast, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in poetry. He is the recipient of a Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship and a distinguished teaching award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives with his wife Sarah in Oregon, where he works as a cardiac nurse.

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