Today is Trayvon Martin’s birthday, and so to honor that, and honor him, we’ve got a poem from Timothy DuWhite:
Hate Crime (Sestina)
For Matthew. For Trayvon. For this black. For this gay. For the women. For the men. For all the stories without a mouth.
What about the boy with wolves skin?
What about the cabin and the shadows,
how a lumber jack made a rocking chair
out of him. The boy, never taught
the danger in disguise. How a face covered
in flesh wouldn’t mask the beast hidden inside.
First cut went to the chest; the blade ran from inside
out. They peeled off all the fur that matted the skin
and left him on the tiled floor shivering naked. Covered
all of the tracks he left in the woods. Called the shadows,
re-taught them their stories. Picked up the ax, taught
it it’s meaning. Picked up the teeth; let it watch from the chair
"Oh what big mouth you have," said the teeth from the chair.
“Oh just better to bleed with,” said the blade inside
of the boy. Besides, it was the wolf skin boy who taught
the lumber jack how to swing his ax. All the practice his skin
would give him. You should see the sparks that’ll follow the shadows.
Look to the ground and see all the skid marks the twigs covered.
"Oh such big hands, such big hands, you’ve nearly covered
my face,” said the blood from the ground to the teeth on the chair.
“He did, he did, nearly broke my jaw!” said the shadow
on the wall of the teeth on the chair to the blade inside
of the boy. The wolves skin boy. The boy with the skin
made for hiding; till found and beaten the way an ax is taught.
His hood was red; same hood from the woods; the hood that taught
the blade inside of the boy how to gut like an ax. The hood that covered
it’s tracks. That made a liar out of the footprints; the evidence; his skin,
his wolves skin parted like crucifixion. Bones like a rocking chair
cut from the wood of a winter. A splintering mess prodding from inside
a wood cabin chest, without enough words to feed the shadows.
None of the animals of the forest responded to the shadows,
to the sparks in the dark or the wolves skin boys hollow. They taught
twigs in the ground how to hold their own water. Taught the inside
of an oak how to stand when twigs crumble. He was covered
in blood, “but at least it was his own,” said the teeth from the chair,
without a voice to call home, to the boy on the ground; the boy with the skin.
It’s kind of like a shadow the way a body can be covered.
Back when I was an ax I was taught how to blend in like a chair.
But eventually you’ll just cut yourself from the inside and expose the fur of your skin.