Tromp L’oeil, Jasper-Style

—————————————“James Byrd was buried near an old iron fence
—————————————-on the black side of Jasper City Cemetery.”

The hidden you
watches behind
——–a curtain, locks the doors
——–turns the TV up and sits
——–back to relocate: a question –

the urination on,
and dragging to death of,
——–a Byrd is expected (historic?)
——–but what about the

[a black man hangs
from a tree, the
——–tree hangs on an arm
——–the arm] on a John William
——–King as he leans out his truck –

An artist drew/
——–pale beige skin
——–darkened the hanged,
——–knotted a tree together.

Mute is grey. Mute
comes from the
——–severed head [a culvert].
——–A bounty of ankles and teeth;
——–what was the make of that truck?

Demons hide in
details. “To tell you the truth,
——–I’d do it again.”
——–Tell me again,
——–what did you do?


Lana Rakhman has current poems published or forthcoming in Weave, New Madrid, RHINO, Poetry Quarterly, Harpur Palate, Salamander, 5th Wednesday and others. She received her MFA from Northwestern University, where she was the poetry editor of TriQuarterly. She teaches college English, and lives in Chicago with her husband and unruly cat, Pretzel.


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  1. Pingback: Table of Contents, Issue Three | Matter

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