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Saturday, December 12, 2015


by Michael Eddie Anderson

There had been warnings, but no one imagined this could happen. For weeks, two rival factions battled it out on Chicago's South Side. One shooting left the mother of a gang member wounded and her 25-year-old son dead. A few days later, a young woman sitting in a car was fatally shot. With tensions high, outreach workers for CeaseFire traded bits of information and huddled with gang members to try to untangle the conflicts. But the execution of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee in an alley by 80th Street and Damen Avenue in early November was nothing anyone — not the most seasoned cops, not former longtime gang members — would have ever predicted. In Chicago's long, troubled history of gang violence, children have far too often been the victims of stray bullets meant for others, but authorities allege Tyshawn was lured from a park and fatally shot because of his father's alleged gang ties. —Chicago Tribune, Dec. 1, 2015

for Tyshawn Lee

In a good world
the nine-year-old boy would get a haircut,
would get a double-breasted white tuxedo,
matching white cotton gloves,
a red bow tie,
a red boutonnière at the lapel—
also a bright red fedora
crowning the little casket, fire-engine red,
which is wiped with Lysol
and polished clean
as the mourners queue up
on the sidewalk
in a long line
because in a good world
such a line would be long.

Michael Eddie Anderson has worked as an editor at Rhino: the Poetry Journal and now serves on their advisory board. His poetry has appeared in Rhino, Pen Woman Magazine, and the recent Poet and Artist Chapbook of the Northwest Cultural Council. Anderson lives in Evanston, Illinois.