I would not recognize anyone
whose lynching was preserved
in picture postcards.
I might spot a familiar face
in the raucous crowd.
I do hear mothers wailing
through a history
of dead sons.
We do not know the history
of disappeared women.
No one ever photographed rape
like lynching, then published it
for sale at local gas stations.
copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney
I witnessed the hanging tree
and the lynching ghosts
a few miles from the family farm
on a beat-up picture postcard.
Its commercialization curses the cropland.
Such community revelations
sear a peculiar brand on sons and daughters.
Petty political purity corrodes every plow.
Such events require a prudent family
animated by the fear of retaliation,
who employ wile and manipulation
instead of Christian ethics.
Grandfather, the January snows melt
to reveal what it once covered up.
copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney