My Peace

by Joi Axem

"License and registration, please?"
Why should I have to fear when I hear those words?
Why does a crippling anxiety take over my world?
Why does my stomach turn and "I ... I ... I ..." I start stumbling over my words?
And my face starts getting hot and I feel that I can't breath?

Thump. Thump. Thump.
My heart is racing as I reach for my wallet.
My eyes are overtaken by a rhythmic pattern of red and blue.
My tears begin to sting.

"Please step out of the vehicle!"
I try to move, but my legs won’t walk.
I try to speak, but my mouth won’t talk.
I try to think, but my brain won’t stop.

"Do you have your license and registration?"
I swear I've heard those words already.
"Ahh yess ..." 
I slowly begin to grab my wallet.

She had a weapon!
She was reaching for something!
She was not complying!
She was a criminal!

My tears begin to turn to stone.
I desperately try to gasp for air, but all I taste is blood.
Surely this has to be a dream and
I will wake up.

And so I slowly close my eyes and feel at peace.
A sense of peace that I have never felt before.
A sense of peace that radiates through my body and overtakes my soul.
Yes ... I finally am at peace!

Poem published for Urbana's 7-Days of Action Campaign Day 2: "Disrupt Racism."

My Peace (Audio Version)