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Friday, August 28, 2020


by Judith Terzi

Emmett Louis Till was kidnapped, lynched and brutally murdered at age 14 on August 28, 1955.

"Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor."—John Lewis, New York Times, July 30, 2020

Emmett Till shot dead at fourteen. Two men go free.
George Floyd suffocated at forty-six. By a brutal knee.

          George ran out of breath. Suffocated at age forty-six.
          They sank Emmett, strapped him to a cotton gin fan.

No gun to sink George. No river, no machine, no tree.
Simeon Wright saw the men point the gun at Emmett.

          Saw the men point the gun, pull his cousin from bed.
          His words weightless against the two men's. No video

then. The world saw the cop's knee press into George.
Saw three more cops. Over eight minutes of complicity.

          Four cops. Eight ears sealed shut for over eight minutes.
          Sixty-five years gone by since Emmett lost his breath.

Three months passed since George no longer breathes.
Emmett Till shot dead at fourteen. Two men go free.

Author of Museum of Rearranged Objects (Kelsay), as well as of five chapbooks, including Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By (Kattywompus), Judith Terzi's poems have received Pushcart and Best of the Web and Net nominations and have been read on Radio 3 of the BBC. She holds an M.A. in French Literature and taught high school French for many years as well as English and French at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria.