The Barricade Tape on 111th Street

POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS        the glass and steel tower
where I live since it razed a donut shop and bodega gone with the
of a century that is   REFORZADO     REINFORCED    yellow plastic remnants
made by Empire not to fray into                    bangs I heard last night       three or
CAUTION     CUIDADO      CAUTION pops at two in the morning the dreaming
hour no concern of mine until I got the  LINE  from my super that a 17-year-old
DO NOT CROSS   was shot in the head   D.O.A.   another white outline  settled  
in the dust of so many            fallen to the ground     what if the chalked specters rose to
up the    POLICE    what if we could see how many        DO NOT ENTER          history
died in that one spot   how would this crime scene look with all the    CAUTION   used
up for
tape  my block a yellow web
the dead too thick to CROSS


Sarah Key has had poems published in Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review, InPatient Press, Solares Hill, Poetry Nook Magazine, Truck, Enizagam, Kaleidoscope, and the anthology My Cruel Invention.  She has studied at Cave Canem with Eduardo Corral and in master workshops with Sharon Dolin and Jeanne Marie Beaumont. She has authored eight cookbooks, including a series called the Hollywood Hotplates, Serendipity Sundaes, and Serendipity Parties. Currently, she has eight essays on The Huffington Post. ( and edited the 2014 encyclopedic cookbook Gusto: The Very Best of Italian Food and Cuisine. She is privileged to work as a writing tutor at a community college in the Bronx where she learns  from her students.