Tamer Mostafa, 7/13/2015

Current Occupation: Job Coach for adults with developmental disabilities.
Former Occupation: Creative Writing Instructor
Contact Information: Tamer Mostafa is a Stockton, California native whose writing has been influenced by many, but directly affected by the teachings of Joshua McKinney, Alan Williamson, and Joe Wenderoth. He has published over 30 literary works in various journals and magazines such as Confrontation, The Rag, Poets' Espresso Review, Stone Highway Review, and Phantom Kangaroo.

 

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Protocol

 

-July 16, 2014

 

The workers follow it to a tee

inside the bank

behind the bandit barriers,

staring through their reflections

to hollowed faces

and muzzles tapping the glass.

The alarm is triggered

and bills slide through the slit beneath.

 

For the robbers, it never

goes to plan, panic sets in,

someone hiding behind their weaponry

fires automatic shots

rattling against the chamber.

Before leaving, a need

to grab extra collateral is agreed upon.

 

The hostages know of no protocol,

didn’t know one existed,

but follow instructions

to the back of a van,

curl up on the sun-heated floor

holding in the nausea

that eighty miles an hour in city streets

without a seat belt brings.

 

The residents, hearing the sirens,

veer their cars to the right,

pave a path in some monotonous

routine, turn their backs to the wheel

until they see the van,

door open and human shields

losing skin, bit by bit

with every shot.

 

The officers know their rules,

their rules of engagement,

know the number of hostages,

condition of the vehicle,

how to intercept a situation

in its infancy,

how to hold a shield upright

against their body and face.

And they know that six hundred rounds

are six hundred too many

for one city

and one woman.

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