No Redeemer for White Sins

In the humid dark
sweltering, sweating
scent of mold and mildew
permeating every worn clapboard
an engine running loud
the crack of splintering wood
a beam of light
like a pig’s probing snout
hunts the dusty air
pouring over
screaming faces, throw rugs
tables, beds, and on it
the boy
begging and pleading and bribing
the mother punched in the mouth
quiet bitch
dragged away
the man with the flashlight
and the gun
directs the one with the sack
hooded and escorted
to the rumbling and sputtering motor
that’s the one, the condemnation
beaten with pistols
with metal tools
broken bones, lacerations
smashed and shattered teeth
eye gouged from socket
whipped, destroyed
forced to carry his death
a heavy weight borne
to old man river
flowing treacherous
mosquitoes teeming in the pick-up’s headlamps
lashed to his burden
the massive cotton gin fan
barbed wires digging into flesh
not dead yet
mutilated beyond recognition
fourteen years old
on vacation to The South
the bullet crashes through his head
and the anchor is hefted
finally thrown
into the dark Tallahatchie
into those depths
falling in
falling over him
falling forever into memory


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