I never got used to the helicopters

Yesterday I watched them all afternoon from the roof, in lines—

no clouds but helicopters, in lines droning north & south

& birds singing echo songs to the neighbor building’s canyon

I started to hate them when they followed us, & realized they were for us, when we began to march, in the winter of 2003

You must know there were hundreds of thousands of us in the streets of this our city….. & then many other cities. Many people did say no,

as marching drones

Our fists, as helmets

fists as O’s

eyes big as drone O-eyes, as helmets

One of the marches, on Valentine’s Day, was especially bitter & cold

colder in First Avenue, inside the barricades which were pens

along the controlled route, inside the lines

colder on the liver, & inside back of the spine

Also the controlled route was especially narrow, on that day, they wanted us to not be able to move, in the pens, against each other

Outside the fences horses with their men in actual helmets

& hauling sacks of hard plastic handcuffs

The woman in the prison line, lips blue from the cold, said to A., Can you describe this?

I can, A. said

The horse is the smile then appearing on the face of the woman in the line

The horse, also drone, which bides his time

Terror which is also bitter

Your mouth after they take the ashes out


I learn that the hard plastic of the handcuffs is manufactured by the people who make the hard plastic discs, clear plastic, that I set under the legs of my heavy furniture—

the sitting chair with old time wheels, the sofa & teak table, & our bed

They make an indentation in the soft wood of the dark floor but no Scratching

to get out of the pens, inside the helmets

or scratching inside the helmets

the eyes of the men in the pens

the eyes of the marcher drones scratching at the barricades

eyes of the avenue, pavement lines, & shops

the few trees watching in the cold &

the helicopters never leaving, many years later

No more marching, still, in lines, north & south

For now there are men still in the helicopters, on the horses but

be careful what you take into your house—

after they take the ashes out the next phase

is clear plastic discs, & O an open mouth

(for Marie Ponsot)

Tim Carrier is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and currently lives in New York City. He is a candidate for the MFA in poetry at the Institute of American Indian Arts. In 2014, he was a Lambda Literary Fellow in Creative Nonfiction.

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