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.