Chou1the scream
The Scream
by Jackie Chou

Why does the man on The Scream scream?
Because he is afraid of heights
I know, because I am afraid of heights
And I know exactly what happened on that painting

I never walk on bridges
Because I am afraid they would collapse
And I would fall
Into the frigid blue water
Or the highway
And that would be the end of me

One day a friend
Convinced me to take the bridge
To the local library
I didn’t want her to know my phobia
So went along with her
Only this one time, I thought
I will be courageous

But I freaked out
When I got to the top
And looked down at the river
And the highway
I covered my ears
To muffle the sound of cars
Below the bridge, and screamed
I cannot go any further
Somebody help me

I think that’s what happened
To the man on the painting

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written in the Emerging Urban Poetry Workshop.

PAINTING: “The Scream” by Edvard Munch (1893).

PHOTOGRAPH: Taken at Pico Rivera Gardens (a residential care facility) on October 8, 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Chou has been writing poetry since high school, winning the Lincoln High School junior class poetry contest with the poem “Vanity Gate,” and went on to study Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. After graduating in 1997, Chou continued to write as a hobby. In 2012, Chou joined the Emerging Urban Poetry Workshop at the Santa Catalina Branch Library in Pasadena. Chou’s poetry has been published in the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, the Alta Dena Poetry Review, Spectrum, Dryland Literary Magazine, and Angel City Review Literary Magazine.