Wednesday Poem

My Twitter Feed Becomes Too Much

I come across pictures of two rubber bullets
nestled in a palm, their nose tips black
and rounded like a reporters’ foam-covered
mic. The caption reads These maim, break skin,
cause blindness. Another photo—a hollow
caved into a woman’s scalp, floating hands

in blue gloves dabbing at the spill. An offhand
comment in the replies—are you sure that rubber bullet
caused that type of damage?—the question hollowed
of genuine concern. The page refreshes. A black
man melts into a street curb from exhaustion, his skin
blotched with sweat and red. Protester’s hands cover

his body, and this is church. A baptism—cover
me with the blood. And there are more. Hand-
drawn threats—shoot the FUCK back­­. Police cars skinned
of their lettering and paint from the bullet-
aim of Molotov cocktails in Budweiser bottles. Black
Lives Matter marked in thick letters below the hollow

outline of the black power fist. A gas mask’s eye-hollows
glinting with tears. The page refreshes. Undercover
cops wearing matching armbands like a gang. A black
army tank crawling through city streets the way a hand
may tip-toe up a thigh. The page refreshes. A bullet
list of places to donate if I can’t put my skin

in the game protesting in the streets. The snakeskin
pattern of fires from a bird’s-eye view of DC. Hollowed
Target storefronts. The page refreshes. Rubber bullets
pinging a reporter and her crew as they run for cover,
a white woman’s reply—things are getting out of hand
punctuated with heart emojis. Protester’s shadows blacking

the fiery backdrop of the riots. Badge numbers blacked
over with tape. The page refreshes. A man skinned
by the asphalt when pulled from his car with both hands
up. A police car plowing into a peaceful crowd. The hollow
promises from white friends to “do better”—a cover-
up for how quickly they will bullet

into our inboxes and ask us to hand them the answers. Black
rubber bullets—the page refreshes—a woman’s forehead skin
split—page refreshes—a bloody hollow—refresh—take cover.

by Taylor Byas
Frontier Poetry