To Write a Poem

Barbara Jane Reyes

She is writing a poem — t​his is just to say

She is alive inside an icebox, so sweet

She is locked inside — four × two × two

She does not scream, not once in three days

She is praised by her jailers, she is so cool

She is entered, entered, again, again

She is curled up, she is hosed down

She bears and grits, she plots in the night

She calls 911, p​lease save me. I am here. I am —

She is documented, “human traffic”

She is reported as “child pornography”

She is late breaking news’ “victim”

She is a demographic “youth at risk”

She is a statistical “teenage runaway”

She is a poet, writing, t​his is what I know.

She is a poet, signing, t​his is my name.


From To Love as Aswang: Songs, Fragments & Found Objects
Available from Pawa, Inc.
Read another poem from the book at the Poetry Foundation site.

Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of D​iwata, Poeta en San Francisco, a​nd Gravities of Center. She has also authored three chapbooks, F​or the City That Nearly Broke Me, Cherry, a​nd E​aster Sunday. To Love as Aswang i​s her fourth full-length poetry collection.

To Love as Aswang: Sounds, Fragments & Found Objects (Pawa, 2015)