Dark Injustice

 Lana Hechtman Ayers

 Dark Injustice
  
 There are black men dangling 
 from the trees of California
 and New York 
 like some new species of bird
 that hangs by its neck
 from the high branches,
 a Corvid perhaps
 given the fact the Jim Crow
 has never ended in earnest.
  
 Look, mama, says a small
 white boy walking past 
 a special tree, that birdy’s
 giving me a dirty look.
 Mama drags him along,
 murmuring more's the pity
 in this city. 
  
 Do we know how life
 imitates death
 in the guise of suicide,
 someone’s vile idea of irony?
  
 Here’s the news of yesteryear:
 Lynching.
 Here’s the news of yesterday:
 Lynching.
  
 Some claim a tree is just a tree
 and the noose is a clever device
 for black men to say farewell.
  
 Hell is paved with trees
 like the streets of America.
  
 More protests do not equal 
 more progress.
 The egress from racism is
 no safe passage.
  
 This is not a cause
 but a call for conscience.
  
 This is not about law
 but morality.
  
 This is not a subject
 for neutrality.
  
 Transforming human 
 into humane 
 is no simple addition of ‘e’.
  
 e = energy in physics equations
  
 Hanging is all about 
 force and gravity,
 about tension and torque.
  
 Lynching is hanging
 with a capital ‘H’
 for hate, 
 with the silent, sinister 
 addition of ‘e’
 as in evil.
 
 Injustice is a white man’s noose,
 from the trees of California 
 to the New York island.
  
 Our voices must chant, lifting
 the fog of dark injustice—
 no lives matter 
 until black lives matter.
  
 In this land made for you and me,
 let justice truly stand
 for the end of racism,
 from the Redwood forest
 to the Gulf stream waters, and beyond. 
   

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