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.