The police sirens sounded like wind
getting knocked out of our stomachs.
We tried to find a place to pull over
where there was a semblance of light.
There was no light.
They asked us to step out of the car.
I didn’t know why—they grabbed him
like he wasn't somebody's child,
palmed the back of his head
like a fruit ready to be dropped
from the top of the roof so the other boys
could laugh at the plurality of pieces.
There was no sovereignty left in his limbs.
His face against the front of the police
car made him look like a fish out of water.
But where is the water?
When has there ever been water?
When have we ever been allowed to swim?
When has there ever been somewhere
we can breathe?
I don't remember the last time police
sirens didn't feel like gasping for air.
I don't remember what it means not
to be considered something meant
to flounder, to flap against
the surface while others watch you
until the flailing stops.