poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 31, 2018.
About this Poem 

“‘This Has Always Been Our Active Shooter Drill’ is a poem that comments on the dissonance between the active shooter drills children all over America are forced to carry out in the event of a school shooter and the often futile drill that black parents execute with their children (even once they become adults) to hopefully protect them from abusive police officers who identify them as targets and not as people.”
—Jason Reynolds

This Has Always Been Our Active Shooter Drill

(for Stephon Clark’s grandmother)

shave your face. a haircut
even. kiss your kids. your
partner. your parents. tell
them you listened. you kissed
their asses like you were
taught. kissed their asses and
still. walk. or run. don’t
matter. glue your identification
to your forehead. wrap yourself
in the flag. hand over heart. hit 
the high note. hide your slang 
under your tongue. delete
your profile. scrub the net. clean 
your blood. prepare your body 
for peepholes no one 
will ever peer into.

Copyright © 2018 by Jason Reynolds. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Jason Reynolds. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds's latest books include For Every One (Simon & Schuster, 2018) and the latest in the Track series, the novel, Sunny (Simon & Schuster, 2018).