Early Afternoon, Wednesday, October 1, 1919: Lonnie And Other White Men Walk The Streets Of Elaine Before Heading North Into The Cotton Rows Of More Killing Fields.
Speculation runs dry as a blanch bone,
For death had come here, to this place,
With no advance notice – just like heavy
Storms out of the west fall from above,
Lead weight to crush us or dumb earth.
The streets catching black bodies bound
To the dust and riddled here and there,
Left to the trinket-takers – token ears
Slashed loose, fingers, toes removed;
Keepsakes for home to make stories
Last, even flash: “I was there in Elaine,”
They’ll bray, “when others shuddered
Like leaves at a coming of black fury
To the front door. I was there,” they’ll
Spew – chilled air in rancid times, none
Won, just preserved. I walk dead among
The street dead in Elaine, while I hear
My name called, “Lonnie?” Lone passage?
The dead do speak: words unheard once
Before if I care to listen. We move north
Without inflection; we simply move to
Overtake land and a black other, hiding
Under the sun, underneath the terror we
Wish to reveal without panic or qualm,
A man gaining control of his claims, his
Careful inclusion, his worth. Here, one
Part of us severed from the rest, deemed.