The Hero of Seymour Avenue

Jennifer Jean

                     Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, and Amanda Berry were rescued after over a decade

                       of sexual slavery and torture.

Open your arms, Charles Ramsey.

You’ve kicked wide the house of horrors.

Kicked off a steel door-sweep and set three free.

Now this little pretty white thing

is rushing you —

you: the savior.

Hug her!

Even though you’re a man. Even though

you’re: a black man.

(I’m a man, you add later.)

This stringy, greasy girl clutching her lovebaby

girl, doesn’t care — finally

a neighbor (just like you)

can hear her scream

like a car had hit a kid.

Even if

it might be: just domestic

violence. (It wasn’t just

by any stretch.) Open your arms, Chuck,

to those girls — to that dead giveaway

who can see home past

your gap-toothed grimace

your half-eaten Big Mac

your history

hitting the ex — you

are not the monster.

You make good in Cleveland.

about the author