A poem for the San Bernardino detective who led terror victims to safety

San Bernardino sheriff's detective Jorge Lozano.
San Bernardino sheriff's detective Jorge Lozano.

U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is paying tribute to Jorge Lozano, the sheriff's detective who helped employees to safety during the terror attacks earlier this month in San Bernardino. Fourteen people were killed and 22 were injured.

Herrera wrote a poem titled "I'll Take a Bullet for You."

The work was inspired by Lozano, who was leading a group of people out of the Inland Regional Center when he said, "I'll take a bullet before you do, that's for damn sure." The moment was captured on a cellphone video obtained by KPCC.

Lozano said he was just making sure he got people out safely.


Herrera, who taught at UC Riverside, also wrote a poem for Cal State-Long Beach student Nohemi Gonzalez. She was killed in November's terrorist attacks in Paris. 
I'll Take a Bullet for You
…as Detective Lozano led them to safety. Inland Regional Center -
following the mass shooting in San Bernardino and all the kind 
responders at the scene and beyond.
I'll take a bullet for you
Detective Jorge Lozano said
from the chasm of sprinklers spilling and leaving 
he walked the living wounded
he did not utter words it was his heart that moved
the innocent followed
in the shattered corners we heard you even though
we were lost in the complex tears of the digital screen
Hope - we had not heard the word how could there be such
an odd weaving breathing thing bitten we thought - after Paris
razors and hard waters were rising I'll take a bullet you said
we said that too listening to you 
esperanza hope we whispered picking up our children
after school shuffling dim at a tree farm
we bow as we plant this greenness in the center 
of our brown house
it seems to 
touch the sky
- Juan Felipe Herrera

This story has been updated. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Lozano had said, "I'll take a bullet for you."