The death of Charleena Lyles inspired this KUOW #NewsPoet | KUOW News and Information

The death of Charleena Lyles inspired this KUOW #NewsPoet

Apr 13, 2018

The news can be troubling and sometimes disturbing. 

For poets it can be a source of inspiration. To help process the stories in our news feeds, we invite poets to write an original piece inspired by a KUOW story for #NewsPoet.


Today we hear from West Seattle-based poet Katy Ellis. Her poem was inspired by the death of Charleena Lyles who was shot and killed last June by Seattle Police.

"Once Again Upon A Time"

The wolf is disguised as a thirty-year-old pregnant black woman

A litter of four pups den with her in a fourth-floor apartment

Near a lake in a gallant land known by all as the Great Pacific Northwest

Immanent summer solstice pries day from night in wide, bright sheaths

This is not a fairy tale though the wolf appears in a story the next day

Transcripts of officers afraid of the woman’s shape-shifting powers

They knew she’d brandished scissors once before in her black paws

But brave they were, two grown men holstering shiny loaded guns

Surely they could take down a wild-minded wolf half their size

And when they did her cubs emerged disguised as little children Who nose their mother’s scent, imprint her permanent sleeping curse.