Posted in Poetry

Emmett Till

(July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955)

I would say rest in peace
but you are in pieces.
Your mother requested an open casket at your funeral
and we saw where fish nibbled at your flesh
and where your smile turned into a shriek
and how scared you must have felt that day.
You were nothing but a boy
and away from home
but I know now that it happens everywhere
that many like you are wrongly murdered
it’s just that the circumstances are a little different
and we have flown through several calendars
and presidents
The only thing that has supposedly changed
is segregation
civil rights
it has not
One amendment cannot undo teachings
especially if the “truth” is not fully true.
I wonder
What does the south say about you?
How are you painted to these people?
I read that there were pictures of white women in your wallet
but that was a ruse.
I read that you did more than just whistle at her.
I read that you were a good boy.
I read that you were wronged
and I’m sorry even though it’s not my fault.
Oh Emmett Till
You were neither the start nor the finish
of the race to control and berate black men
I just wish you didn’t have to be a martyr
and I wish I could learn
what was behind that 100 watt smile



Poet, Writer, Editor

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