Brown skin, still warm from the Missouri heat
lying, lifeless, on the asphalt
only the swarms of unwanted flies
show any concern for this young boy’s body.
“Get the fuck on the sidewalk”
These all too familiar words
spat thoughtlessly out at the boys
from behind the badge of authority.
Such a fateful moment when one
decided to treat another as less than.
One moment where disobedience
snatched the breath from a young boys lungs.
One shot rang out above the buzz of midday summer
a warning, an assertion
of power, of disgust.
A shot that changed protector into aggressor.
Hands raised in surrender
like he learned to do since boyhood.
screams of “I don’t have a gun”
filled the thick, questioning air.
For his body before it lay, lifeless on
the cracked, burning asphalt
was enough of a weapon, enough of a threat
to warrant suspicion, assumption, death.
For the police officer was not what killed him
this boy lay crushed under years of hate
years of injustice, years of suspicion.
This boy was born with this crushing fate.
Brown skin, still warm from the Missouri heat.
A boy, dead, abandoned, hunted over a box of cigars.
Fifty dollars is the price of this boy’s life.
And for this price this black body was sold to the Missouri asphalt.
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)