False Documents

by Nicole Walker

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.


  1. That happened to a man in Eureka Springs, Arkansas who had been installing a pond for my exstepmother. He had a defective tail-light and now languishes in a detention center until he takes his own bus ride down south of The Border, down Mexico way...

    Very suspenseful poem, I might add.

  2. hah! Magipies in mirror may be closer than they appear! Great photo in your header.

    I have some liberal bleeding heart views on your topic today. I can't imagine how it feels to have a taste of Mountain Dew, or in this case, freedom, and then lose it. Heartbreaking.

  3. Things are getting stranger daily, almost by the hour... hardly recognize this post 911 world we live in.

    And I keep hearing the captain's announcement, "Buckle your seatbelts, there may be turbulence ahead."


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