Looking At: Sapphire poem

Looking at: Plate no. 4 "Homicide body of John Rogers W. 134th st., Christensen, October 21,1915, 88311 from EVIDENCE by Luc Sante Im looking at the properly dressed big black hands of death on the neat tile design blood on footprints, the shiny of shoes in corners the stalwart jaw of a witness. Im looking at a century inching into being im looking at a photograph of a black man sixty five years after slavery- lying on a floor dead- hat dropped like a felt bomb- round perfect boulder like it is in 1915 everything (nothing had) happened yet- give us time thirty years the hat will drop on a little island in a big city give us time and every river is the seven of Hiroshima. Im looking at the feet pointed like poison like the prince's sword to a picture poured half full like last nights red wine the mother, Gertrude on video tape the ancient castle of a drama now a book report for school. The king got killed in Memphis 1968 poison poured in his ear by his brother. Im looking at the square corners of a big mans jaw gaped open the pointed teeth of death ape-like in the buck eyes of permanent surprise im looking at the tiles turn to the chain fence the german shephard of a dark afternoon six million frozen forever in the dark nigger night of the holocaust blowing like the backhand of god looking at a photograph in the comfortable overcoat of an automobile moving past the past stuck in the rigor mortis of one black mans body in America with his penis outside history hanging in the bad light of magnolia trees bent to the ground with the sound of hat after velvet hat crashing like tattoos in time.