NEO-LYNCHING ETIQUETTE (for Ahmaud Arbery)
by Terri Kent
Don’t bring potato salad. This time
it’s treeless, and direct sunlight quick
to curdle mayonnaise.
Don’t bring cameras. It happens fast,
without much spectacle and, besides,
postcards are passe’.
Don’t bring kerosene. Barbeque is full
of carcinogens and, anyway, raw is
the new medium-rare.
Don’t bring rope. Save it for crafting.
Google “Uses for great grandpa’s noose
when a .357 does the job quicker.”
Don’t bring whoops and hollers --this
isn’t Mississippi—and, besides, our HOA
frowns on cavorting. Do
By all means, silence.
Baked and buttered and braised and
sautéed in your best olive oil. Carry
silence across the street in dishes from Crate
and Barrel. Tote silence to neighbors, over the dark
stain of his leaving life. Bring silence through the shocked air, through
the space where the sound of bullet fire raced at a quarter mile per second
under noses and before eyes, past lawns and cobblestones and children, past the
ghosts of Till and Martin, past the named and unnamed, past the weeping mothers, past
a whole history that isn’t history.
About the Author
Terri's poetry and prose have found homes in The San Pedro River Review, Barnstorm Journal, Literary Mama, The Sacramento News and Review, and Adoption Today Magazine. She holds an MFA from Sierra Nevada College and lives in Northern California where she teaches Comp & Lit.