2 Black Men

by C. F. Hatten

2 Black Men

4 footsteps running from the past

imagine the tracks of blood that were not
where they should have been
the finger and thumb smear of unidentifiable prints
the fear of being hunted like deer
in open season

imagine the backfire of rage and contempt
maneuvering its way through line-ups and kicked-in doors
the break and tear of skin clotting 88 times
the slippery drip of blood on the sharp thin silver blade

imagine the stabbing sounds in America’s conscious
when he said “two black men did it,” to the Ohio police
a dying man whispering about loss as if
he’d been nailed to the cross and crucified by his enemies

flesh crawling across his chest
his white hand pawing the holy bible
eulogizing his forthcoming darkness

was this the first thought in his head
this man of the cloth and high collars

was this a natural response
this man of confession and religious scholar

but who wouldn’t believe a priest
laying in a puddle in his own father’s house
who wouldn’t believe this man
laying on the pulpit of stereotype and paranoia
bleeding his guts out in the parish of sacrament and sanctity

until he apologized in a black baptist church
for his failed suicide attempt

2 Black Men by C. F. Hatten

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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