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



 

        bring 

                      silence.



 

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.