Monday, July 04, 2022


by William Aarnes

                        a final dispatch from Clemson, South Carolina, June 27, 2022 

Fifteen or so white men gather  
on Mondays before dawn 
on the intramural field/parking lot 
closest to Death Valley. 
Perhaps they’re innocent, 
meeting to pray together 
(I’ve seen them all kneel), 
if prayer is ever innocent. 
They’ve been a constant for years, 
looking as if they’re training 
for something. Sometimes, 
though not this morning, a boy 
or two are out here with them. 
They’re in their customary circle, 
the Stars and Stripes at the center, 
the emblem of every right               
they’re ready to defend. 
They’re talking things over, 
likeminded, making sure. 
When the dog and I pass, 
a few look our way, polite, 
offering smiling nods.    

William Aarnes is leaving South Carolina.