By RJ Walker

In 1903, 
Sugar House Park
was a prison. 

This prison sold tickets 
to executions by firing squad. 

When you fall in love at this park, 
you feel it between the eyes. 
You feel that gunpowder boom
in your chest as if it were your own heart 
tied up and convicted.

Your shoulder aches 
where the gun 
suckerpunched the rifleman 
and you hold on to your love so tightly 
that it escapes like a ghost. 

You know, 
This park was known for its fireworks. 
The loud and colorful bursting 
of gunpowder. 

Then, in 2017 
the fireworks set the park ablaze. 
I watched the fire from my car. 
And something criminal inside of me 
burned away.

RJ Walker is a performance poet and voice actor from Salt Lake City. He has performed at the national poetry slam numerous times, representing Salt Lake City. At the Individual World Poetry Slam, he was a showcased poet on the final stage and placed sixth overall in 2017. He is the host and operator of The Greenhouse Effect Open Mic, Salt Lake City’s longest-running open-mic-style event.