They ran the numbers twice for you
giving you the benefit of the doubt
but you knew the computer at the other
end of the officer’s PDA would not find
your brown number in its little black index.
You drove exactly one mile per hour below the speed
limit. You buckled your baby into his car seat according
to instructions. You signaled for exactly three seconds
before you turned left. You wanted to hide the Subway wrappers,
the empty box of Orbitz gum. Evidence of Big Macs.
You wanted to drink the Mountain Dew before it turned toxic
in the hot Phoenix sun as you asked, doesn’t this green
sludge make me American enough? But you didn’t
move because you knew the officer would have taken
that for gun-finding or drug-hiding or some other supposed
Mexican sport. You with your hands at ten and two
wondered how long the bus ride the officer would take you
on would last and whether they would provide any water.
You wondered, as the officer put hand to holster,
how dangerous it would be to down that Mountain
Dew then and there, in the wide-open American air.
by Nicole Walker
Boston Review; July/August 2010