I want to write a poem about love,
the kind ignited by a rose moon
rising in cloudless sky.
I want to write a poem about the mischievous
tickle of spring, its elfin reel
from magnolia to daffodil, cherry promise.
I want to write about the Pacific's generous cape,
summer-cool embrace, roaming
kiss & shrimp-salted taste.
I want to write about the hummingbird nest,
the size of Aunt Sarah's thimble,
perched in the heart of the lace hedge.
I want to write about the crows that inscribe
the sky each day, flap, caw
& cry their tall tales of heroism.
Yet, try as I will this boot-black day, what I see
is the Illinois Central, Mamie Till waving a white
handkerchief to her South bound son.
Try as I will this boot-black day, what I see
is the face of fourteen year old Emmett Till
crushed like a pureed tomato--
And, his ghost hanging from a Mississippi poplar
for half a century
half a century*
*The U.S. Senate apologized in 2005 for blocking the anti-lynching laws in the 1950s.