Shot
By Ronald J. Pelias

Shot because he was black.
Shot because he went with his friends to have a drink.
Shot because he was driving with a taillight out.
Shot because he was selling CDs.
Shot because he didn’t say, “yes, sir.”
Shot because he had a question.
Shot because he was reaching for his ID.
Shot because he walked in the wrong neighborhood.
Shot because he wanted a midnight snack.
Shot because he was playing his music too loud.
Shot because he made eye contact.
Shot because he was smoking a joint.
Shot because he needed metal health services.
Shot because he hadn’t washed his clothes.
Shot because he had been arrested before.
Shot because he was a large man.
Shot because he was sleeping in the alley.
Shot because he had a fishing knife in his trunk.
Shot because he was wearing the wrong t-shirt.
Shot because he was where someone was afraid.
Shot because he hadn’t gotten home before the sun went down.
Shot because he lived in the United States of America.

Ronald J. Pelias’ work has appeared in a number of journals, including Small Pond, Midwest Poetry Review, Margie and Whetstone. His most recent books, Leaning: A Poetics of Personal Relations (Left Coast Press), and Performance: An Alphabet of Performative Writing (Left Coast Press), If the Truth Be Told (Sense Publications) call upon the poetic as a research strategy.