Morning, Thursday, October 2, 1919: Frank Moore And His Family With Others, At The Edge Of The Canebrakes, Begin To Stir And Observe Federal Soldiers Advancing North Up Highway 44 From Elaine.


The faint smell of gunpowder mixed

With the odor of first mornings, crisp

And profound, yet to be fouled, cane

Still wet, potent; shots heard gone west

Corrupt signs that a new day has come,

Birds whistling in sunbeams, blue jays,

Crows already owning the tumid wind.

Could we keep the morning stopped

And the land reconciled amid balance?


Frank Moore takes a step or two into

Dewed grass, high along the road, for

A better look, cautiously: the story of

Yet another day of violence, yet to be

Told and yet it will be – a sermon halved

Between more hope and incursion, as

Weapons and words compete around

A prayer – praying that time remains

For a safe sundown to forage the day.


It wouldn’t be the same for others,

We later learn, with soldiers groomed

At the most tailored machine guns,

Aimed at coppices where neighbors

Lay breathless, pushing minutes or

Discovery to go by; instead, rapid

Fire took faith’s place, searing ice

Cold lead heated to death’s door, run

Straight, whether one twitched or not.


Children can save a few lost or down,

When soldiers spot us first among highest

Weeds; we, not yet standing atop a road,

Children in my hands by my wife,

Humming alone; my mother at a loss;

To shoot down a child grinds an oath

The soldiers wore, those we saw all

Uniformed and creased across the sky;

They wait on themselves, together, us.