As a 25-year law-enforcement officer in Houston, Sarah Cortez knows her way around police work. As a poet, she attempts to give readers an insider’s view of her job.
Lord, take from me
her dark blue eyes
cloudy with fear
staring in a hospital
room beyond me, beyond
my uniform, nameplate, clipboard.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11, Cortez visited Towniew Center and discussed her poetry with Humanities classes comprising students from Business, Health, Law and Education magnets. Her visit was coordinated in partnership with the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.
She has received many distinctions as a poet, writing books, sharing her knowledge as an educator and winning accolades along the way.
Cortez read a couple of her poems to students on Tuesday and then asked students what they took from them.
A student said it seems like sometimes police officers are stuck between a place where they want to help someone, but can’t, which could take a toll on officers.
“Police officers often come from families of great faith,” she said. “It really helps you negotiate all of that.”
With a lot of negativity surrounding the job of police officer these days, Cortez said she sees her poetry as a way to help build a bridge to the community. Such an effort can’t be about lecturing people or spouting statistics.
“I think the best way it to try to bring them into my unique experience,” she said.