Perspective

When I see the two cops laughing 
after one of them gets shot
because this is TV and one says
while putting pressure on the wound,
Haha, you're going to be fine,
and the other says, I know, haha!
as the ambulance arrives—
I know the men are white.
I think of a clip from the hours 
of amateur footage I've seen
when another man at an intersection
gets shot, falls, and bleeds from a hole
the viewer knows exists only by the way 
the dark red pools by the standing cop's feet,
gun now holstered, who
yells the audience back to the sidewalk.
I know which one is dying 
while black and which one stands by white. 
I think this morning about the student 
in my class who wrote a free write line 
on the video I played
that showed a man pouring water
on his own chest, "...the homoerotic 
scene against a white sky" with no other men 
present. Who gets to see and who follows
what script? I ask my students. 
Whose lines are these and by what hand
are they written?
 

Amy King, "Perspective." Copyright © 2016 by Amy King. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.
Source: PoetryNow (2016)
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