Stephen Fuller *** Poetry, Essays

The Ghost of Tom Burwell

After Jean Toomer’s “Blood-Burning Moon”

Tom, come sit with me, ghost.
Show me the rage born of love
A kindness that melts away
With the kerosene artlessly
Painted at your feet, stepped
On a rotten canvas. Time travel

Is a white man’s entitlement, we
Can go back and reflect upon
What we did not do with anger
That boils up and then simmers
When we say “what we did not do.”
We did. Yes we did. The bills

That paid for lunch, a healthy
Greek salad from Panera, red
Runs in their grains. Tom’s red.
The ghost of Tom Burwell, tell:
You dared love who the white Bob
Raped. His throat cut; your’s burned.

The still blood-burning moon, sinner.

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