The World That the Shooter Left Us

Cyrus Cassells

(Stand Your Ground)

In this one, ladies and gentlemen,
Beware, be clear: the brown man,

The able lawyer, the paterfamilias,
Never makes it out of the poem alive:

The rash, all-too-daily report,
The out of the blue bullet

Blithely shatters our treasured
Legal eagle’s bones and flesh—

In the brusque spectacle of point-blank force,
On a crimsoned street,

Where a revered immigrant plummets
Over a contested parking spot,

And the far-seeing sages insist,
Amid strident maenads

Of at-the-ready patrol car sirens,
Clockwork salvos,

The charismatic Latino lawyer’s soul
Is banished, elsewhere, without a shred

Of eloquence in the matter—
And the brute, churning

Surfaces of the world,
They bear our beloved citizen away—

Which means, austere saints
And all-seeing masters,

If I grasp your bracing challenge:
At our lives’ most brackish hour,

Our highest mission isn’t just to bawl,
But to turn the soul-shaking planet

Of the desecrated parking lot
(The anti-miracle),

The blunt, irascible white man’s
Unnecessary weapon,

And the ruse of self-defense
Into justice-cries and ballots?

Into newfound pledges and particles of light?

in memory of J. Garza, 1949-2017

Last updated September 26, 2022