About 4:00 P.M., Wednesday, October 1, 1919: Lonnie And Other White Men Stalk Through The Cotton Rows, The Killing Fields, North Of Elaine.


Fear lingers everywhere, like blown dust,

Unsettled and invasive. Few rise above the

Crops’ horizon: no blacks at all, hiding in

Their lairs, watchful, silent, holding a stir

Just beneath and about us; hearts laden,

They squirm in cane and wood thickets

With a murmur from a child’s voice just

Hushed again. Are they waiting for us now,

As we must be waiting in careful haste?


A black corpse, among another, drapes dirt

Aside, and here and there, finished forms

Of unreal likelihood; one, two lying quaint,

Natural across, between corpulent plants, act

Of sleeping, of nearly a perfect or simplified

Shape. Far up the road, automobiles encircle

A home; vast movements there counter

The stillness here, embracing that tincture

Of effect, which hovers just above threat.


One of us calls to another that the blacks

Are massing somewhere near, explaining

The unstrung motion further north along

Highway 44; a surge out of the rivercane

Across the road, over the tracks, and below

The sight of an eye, a surge from the east,

A black surge rising nearby the shrouded

Slough will outnumber the faces we gather

Together – now is the time and nature.