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.
I was a crumb, out of a job again,
feeling fallow, hanging out with the other writers at Schwab’s.
An obsolete automobile, titanic and shiny as a new penny,
pulled up; we were slack-jawed, admiring the grandeur.
In front, a bald chauffeur; his passenger, a forgotten icon, Silent era.
She offered me a job, plus room and board.
(Around repo time, one swallows one’s pride and hides
one’s rambunctious side, replacing it with unctuous politeness.)
I approached a mansion at the address she gave me. Rang the bell;
the stately old house echoed, hollow, eerie.
Her butler took my coat and placed my fedora on the hat-rack.
Who could know that, within one month, I’d be
avoiding her embrace in the palatial garden and
waltzing her around the grand ballroom at a party
“Just for the two of us, my darling…”
And who could predict I’d end up face down her in “cement pond,”
blood lacing the water around my bobbing, lifeless body?
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil