Musings #18


This headline caught my eye.

Its emphasis on the crime –

chaining James Byrd, Jr.,

to the back of a truck and driving

fast along a bumpy Texas road.

The body found beheaded, shredded.

Lawrence Russell Brewer,

unrepentant to the end.

Believing monsters are made and not born,

I wonder who in his young life

wore a white hood and rode,

who tortured him, what twisted mixture

of racist role model and revenge led to this.

On the anniversary of the Civil War,

I read about Whitman nursing Union soldiers,

and Chamberlain – before leading the bayonet

charge on Little Round Top –

saying, We are an army out to set men free.

One hundred and fifty years later,

states still sanction killing.

I am an abolitionist,

but in Brewer’s end

– for a white-on-black crime –

I find odd hope.

– published in Tribeca Poetry Review 2014