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We Are Taught, Another Officer’s Confession

By Denise Miller From Issue No. 2

for Tamir Rice

(a Black Male, camouflage hat, grey jacket, and black sleeves at or near the swing set waiving a gun and pointing at people)

See, we were trained to keep eyes on
hands— we were trained that hands
may kill— we were trained to tap-tap

a hole as round as an open mouth— trained
to watch as nickel-tipped teeth tear through a
torso of grown flesh to leave an openness all


—and gaping

but we were not taught to decipher a black
boy’s body from the bulk of a black man.

Were taught to fix on the hands without
reading for wrinkle or smooth. We were
taught to look at the elbow, wait for when it

begins to pendulum toward our ticking hearts.
We were taught to shoot—
and move. We were taught that

the car is a coffin. We put his
sister there to wait.

About Denise Miller More From Issue No. 2