Is Not (Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow)

Cyrus Cassells

in memory of Eric Garner, 1970-2014

A Taser is not an answer
A rushing bullet is not a dream

There is no sunny god
In an Apollo Helmet

A livelong mercenary is not
A frisking meadow lamb

Lady Justice is no
Fearsome chimera

No lurking drone
No business-as-usual Cerberus

A callous Caesar is not
A far-seeing Christ—


Listen: a blazing Mississippi cross
Never presages a messiah.

A daffodil in a “sundown town” never signals
The onset of spring—


So after two callous seasons,
I finally dared to inquire

If his taken-too-soon father’s ousting
“Stand Your Ground” assassin

Was indeed white, “lily-white”
& naturally his response

In this volatile demesne,
This gallery of averted eyes

& gimcrack defenders galore
Was yes

Dear God of course yes


Don’t interrupt the sorrow
A woman croons

But all I catch is the ack-ack-ack
Of ink-blotter redaction,

The X-rated sputter of a black site’s
Water-boarded man

Or a flailing cigarette seller,
Cuffed, gasping for air,

Jinxing arm & insignia
Marring his throat:

Is not

Is not

Is not

Is not—

Last updated September 26, 2022