Justice in Passing

Each morning he studied his reflection
The clear watchet eyes, brushing wavy, not kinky hair
Looking for any shift, the slightest sign
Of any imperfection that may decide to appear there

He knows he has made his life by his looks
The only liaise between his present and his past
He has sampled the best of life by doing so
But lives in quiet desperation, fearing it can’t last

His wife thought he was much too modest
Flaunting her own scintillating beauty with pride
For even the skew of his roman nose was perfect
And he should learn to take life’s rewards in stride

Her fair complexion, fine features and hair of flame
She mocks those deemed not quite their peer
Color conscience in a way not very demur
Never cruel, but her feelings were quite clear

He himself sometimes talked up the game
Convincing others with the occasional taunt
To prove himself as all that they were not
Among the faithless they get as their wont

He does not deny the momentary fillips
His proud solid looks brings about such
But he won’t saunter for fear of his secret
Because he knows they can lose so very much

But what he fears more than loosing his money
More than losing his job or his own life
When the inevitable secret is revealed
Is the torrent of hate that would befall his wife

And so they lived a quiet Christian life
The seasons passing as they are wont to do
Secure as the bell and beau of their tiny town’s ball
But not having faith they just might make it through

Thus it came at night, the sacred secret exposed
On a neighbors porch singing hymns after supper
Faces covered in pointed sheets arrived carrying shackles
In the ensuing scuffle he realized they had chained her

The hooded men claimed when they killed her family of frauds
Years ago, she had escaped, but they finally had her now
As her tears splashed on the ground with her spilled blood
He sat on the porch in utter shock, his heart bellowing “how?!”

He saw himself in those chains as they pulled her along
While she screamed, begged pleaded her veracity
Lip curved in a snarl, his heart turns so very grim
Doing nothing as they took the wrong person away

He took a gamble by leaving all that he’d known
His southern home held nothing for him but blight
When the dice lie still he emerged in the north
As years ago, he a black man slipped into the white

He moved and years later married again
This time lineage or virtue was not in doubt
But when his first-born son was of a dubious hue
It was her family who cast him and the baby out

He gave his son to the first refuge that would take him
So weary from running, he never noticed their maid
Until the clan came with the maid, once his first wife, by their side
He knew the costs of all his sins were to be finally paid

It had been nearly thirty years to the day
To be caught up with the past he had left behind
As he became strange fruit he had to concede
Justice was maybe slow, but was not always blind

Entered in:

dVerse Poets Pub – Open Link Night: Week 33

7 thoughts on “Justice in Passing

  1. Great story. You have taken so much care in making sure the narrative sticks to the rhyme and rhythm and it works quite well. Still hard for me to believe this type of savagery went for civil society in this land. Thank you for memorializing the tale – these things should never be forgotten.

  2. Thank you Brian, Charles and Chaz.

    We all (at least most Americans), know that stories such this and far, far worse cruelties did occur in our nation’s past. Look up “slavery gator bait” for evidence of that. In no way do I desire to lesson the brutal truths out there, for as much as we know, it likely nothing compared to the many of which we will never learn of. Luckily this tale, epic in comparative length to my usual writes and as brutal as it is, was solely from my mind and muse.

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