One Thousand Chokeholds From Now

Black and brown people will cross at the corners.

They will refrain from heaving rocks at panes of glass

and stop grilling meat on the sidewalks.

One thousand chokeholds from now,

they will stop dancing in subways.

They will decline to sell individual untaxed cigarettes.

They will not climb from car wrecks to seek assistance.

They will not resist arrest by holding on to the hems of their skirts.

One thousand chokeholds from now,

black and brown people will no longer insist on access to taxis.

They will not step into elevators when white women are already inside.

They will wait patiently at Best Buy when a snot nose kid checks

and double-checks their receipts.

One thousand chokeholds from now,

windows will not be broken and neither will heads.

Cities will be clean and safe

for lovers of local lager, artisanal pickles,

and the hipsters NextDoor.

One thousand chokeholds from now,

James Q. Wilson won’t be nothing

but the name of an endowed chair at the American Enterprise Institute,

paid for by State Farm, because like a good neighbor

they are always there.

By Jabari Asim

From the collection Stop and Frisk: American Poems

Reprinted with permission of Bloomsday Literary