He Screams | wisconsinacademy.org
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He Screams

Honorable Mention – 2021 Poetry Contest

A man on a bicycle.
Does he strain into his vocal cords
because he is angry, wonder
why he is riding on this track
going around in circles
as his life seems to veer off
in jagged directions, no winding
road home.

He screams.
Mouth open wide, throat thrust
under his chin. He screams,
but he is alone, no other riders
beside or behind him—does he deserve
to ride alone—but no, he wears tank and shorts
of a country it seems
can never be his.

He screams.
Tears carve themselves into his cheeks.
Maybe he is happy and yelling
in joy to have made this ride,
to have won the race, to have escaped
the poverty and nothingness he’s had
all his life. He screams in triumph
in success, in fear he will end his youth.


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Jackie Langetieg is a regular contributor to the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar. She has written five books of poems, most recently, Letter to My Daughter, and also a memoir, Filling the Cracks with Gold. Her poem, “Tai Chi in Four Movements,” was selected Poem of the Year by the Wisconsin Academy in 1999.

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