The hellhounds had found him.
A slab of night, he chugged,
They lassoed him with a horsewhip,
belt-buckled the body,
bruises stippled like
Kerosene dripped from a greasy jug.
A match tossed into the brush—
a woodcoffin of strawkindling and bone.
Fire engulfed the body, not the screams.
I sit in my grandfather’s attic of asbestos,
bibles, and fishhooks.
On the back of the postcard,
at the barbeque in Birmingham last night—
nigger got it good.
In the postcard, faces,
strawbrimmed and cigarlipped, huddled
around a catalpa crematorium,
mouths frozen in the shape
of justice, eyes piercing the blackest smoke,
sanctuary nowhere to be found.
I ask my younger brother what the word
The football player, he says
"At The Barbeque In Birmingham…" is a stunning, chilling, sobering poem, as this scene from the past unfolds in the hands of a young person sitting in Grandfather's attic, looking through old postcards. After sitting with this poem for several weeks, I thought of this image, a photograph taken near my childhood home. With trees in silhouette, it is simple, yet the road is hazy under an eerie green sky; this eeriness speaks to Dan's poem.