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Monday, August 26, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

I can’t imagine how I will die,
what day, what hour, who will be there

but breathing gas? The people I knew
with numbers on their arms
march toward me from a mist. Anything
is possible in the world
of horror. My parents tried
to explain those numbers.

I swallowed tear gas
when it misted over yellow street lights
across the New Haven green
one May Day during the trial
of Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins.

It followed me like a bold ghost,
slipped between my sheets, dented
my pillow and nauseous dreams
of blood and riot gear

Syrian gas falls
beyond tears, laying out youth,
bodies, brutal line ups for speedy burials
in pits, dead hands
cannot point fingers.

I cannot imagine.
My throat rides
high in my mouth’s
last gasp
most deadly.

Tricia Knoll
is a Portland, Oregon poet. She lived in New Haven, Connecticut throughout the Black Panther trials of Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins.