This week, the Beat will be posting work from writers in the Writers in Baltimore Schools (WBS) program. This work was created at WBS’ Young Writers’ Summer Studio, a six-day writing camp held each year in August. This year, the Beat’s Lisa Snowden-McCray and Brandon Soderberg worked with the students for two of those six days. Some of the work here and much more will be published in WBS’ Writers’ Studio anthology out soon. We began with a piece from WBS founder Patrice Hutton and so far we brought you poems by WBS writers Abigail MokubaJahi Heath, Christian Pearson, and Kenniah Woodson. Today, we have a poem by A.H. Berry…

I am the gritless city, I am

a rat in the doorway, I am

the static whine of an old TV, I am

dog poop on the sidewalk, I am

magnolia trees blossoming, I am

ginko leaves carpeting the sidewalk, I am

the sweet stink of beer and body odor and

sweat and ice cream and

metal sculptures at Artscape, I am

footsteps echoing in art museums, I am

radical stickers on streetlamps, I am

used books and musty carpets and coffee, I am

smudged pencil lead, I am

water and lemon juice and Domino sugar, I am

ramen seasoned with Old Bay, I am

polo shirts and khakis

and paranoia from a gun threat yesterday, I am

surveillance cameras being installed as Hopkins students are 

arrested for protests, I am

running like Naruto, I am

starlight and light pollution and Hubble images on my wall, I am

cracking paint and pop-punk posters, I am

pride flags in the corner, I am

a fear of roaches, I am

an oversized diploma, I am

an alcohol-free house, I am

a cancer pill-filled house, I am

no anger in this house and

you need to go to church, I am

GoFundMe pages and tagging along to doctor’s visits, I am

countless lists labeled Financial Independence

Plan, I am

a slamming door

overstuffed bags in a moving car

visible stars in Virginia, I am

movies in the park, I am

Dungeons and Dragons over voice chat, I am

purple notebooks in floral backpacks, I am

cheesecake, I am

flannel, I am

raspberry ginger ale, I am

the silent girl on the bus in the rain. I am

the moment after hearing What’s your name?

I am

the rat in your doorway


how to squeak.