She was good looking.
He whistled in appreciation.
Rednecks approached: “Black boy,
gonna teach you a lesson.”

Pistol whipped, drowned, 14.  Emmett Till.
Open casket: Mama’s wishes.
That cruel reality slapped us awake.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Trifecta Friday: Write a horror poem or story in exactly 33 words, without employing the following words: blood, scream, died, death, knife, gun, or kill. I chose this true story because for me, there is nothing more frightening than to put oneself in the shoes of a victim of hate crime, and Emmett Till’s death and public funeral were key to the outrage that sparked the Civil Rights Movement, a cause my mother believed in deeply and outspokenly.

This poem will also appear at Poets United, my poetic peeps.