In a new poem titled “@ the Crossroads: A Sudden American Poem,” US poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera reacts to last week’s violence by asking the reader to consider the men who were killed, their names, their faces, “the stories they often spoke.”

Herrera previously responded to a shooting at UCLA, his alma mater, with a poem, and has discussed the influence of social justice movements on his work in the past. In this new poem, he calls for celebrating the lives of both the two black men who were shot by police and the five Dallas police officers killed by a sniper.

Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at More from this author →