It is a moment without metaphor,
without the elegance of ambiguity.
What happens does not signify anything,
does not borrow the body of what it is
to create the soul of what it is;
it does not lend itself out to betoken
other things. These are seconds
without such generosity.
It is not a moment of young onions
grown tender for the harvest, or persimmons
frosted over by the sugars of age. There are
no solemn rail cars rusting into poignancy.
There is only a young black man
who is only a young black man
bullied by the sting of insult and indignity
too great, his proud mouth burnt by wrath
as he careens down the sidewalk
There is only a loose-tongued white man
who is only a loose-tongued white man,
older and leaning heavily on a cane as he turns,
a bag of something in his free hand, fretfully
silent now as he looks into the face
his epithets have spoken to life
one ugliness begets another.
Cups of coffee leave the parking lot
behind me, where presumably all