Lit Issue | Poetry

Bricks in the Yard (For Diane Latiker)

A poem by Daniel "Sully" Sullivan

and the mayor says

Instead of jobs, health facilities, trauma centers and schools,

let’s invest in the National Guard. We’ll reallocate funds and lock down

the blocks that are most affected.

 

When Blaire Hope was shot on the bus everybody

wanted to meet, march and rally. It wasn’t working

for the young people. That’s where it started. He was the first.

He was 16 and he was the first.

 

and the sergeant says

They get them at the gun shows in Indiana. ATF is doing everything

they can but until Congress regulates, it all roles downhill.

With all do respect to you, Ma’am, this neighborhood is downhill.

 

Her memorial is a stack of stolen breath.

There are stories behind each one of the stones.

They are built to remember. Last year, it was 374 bricks.

Then she ran out of space in the yard. She’s trying.

 

and the neighbor says

That girl Just another one. I know she was somebody’s daughter. She was

somebody’s Lil Snoop too. Aint no stones in Tookaville. That bean downtown

to me look like a silver bullet and here you can get a gun easy as a pack of gum.

 

She is keeping count and trying to find space for 470 more.

Each brick has a name. It is written in hard ink after every fallen

child. Their names cover us like hydrant water in August, taken

from the city’s earth and stretched red and warm across the avenue.

 

Dan “Sully” Sullivan is a Chicago native and an MFA candidate at Indiana University. His book, The Blue Line Home, is available on EM press.

Thoughts on “Bricks in the Yard (For Diane Latiker)”

  1. Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for writing about the “young lost lives” of Chicago who seem to always be forgotten by those who didn’t know them. Your words ring true that the stones are there for remembrance, we must never forget them!

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