Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The World That the Shooter Left Us

                                                       (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

Credit


Copyright © 2018 by Cyrus Cassells. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 30, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


”It took a year before I could summon any language at all in response to the ‘stand-your-ground’ shooting and death of my close friend's father, a highly revered lawyer, over a contested accessible parking spot, but a similar incident in Florida this past July compelled me to finish and share this elegiac testimony.”
—Cyrus Cassells

Author


Cyrus Cassells

Winner of a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry for Beautiful Signor, Cyrus Cassells was born in 1957 in Dover, Delaware.

Date Published: 2018-10-30

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/world-shooter-left-us