3 Poems by Morgan Christie

 

Targets

If only it hadn’t been 1946 on a remote back road 
in a rural town in North Carolina, but it was;
or if your brother hadn’t stayed late after school for extra help 
with his homework, but he did; 
or if those three white boys speeding through the back streets of town 
hadn’t spotted him walking towards them, 
or if one of the boys hadn’t had bottle of 
Coca-Cola and decided on a game of target practice, 
or if only the driver didn’t lean out of his window and whip the glass bottle 
at your brother’s head, yelling, “Catch Nigger!”,
or if the bottle hadn’t ricocheted off your brother’s jaw leaving 
a scar he would carry for the rest of his life, but it did;
or if only the pain he felt from his bleeding chin had outweighed his anger,
or if he hadn’t gripped the bottle and in a moment of rage thrown it back 
towards the speeding truck narrowly missing its bumper,
or if the three boys hadn’t been watching in the rearview mirror and 
spun around in hot perusal of the boy, but they did;
or if only they stopped chasing him when he cut into the woods,
or if they didn’t jump out of their truck and run down behind him,
or if your brother hadn’t tripped over an elevated root,
scraping his knee and slowing him down, and he did;
or if you hadn’t been on the front porch waiting for him to get home,
or if your brother’s tears hadn’t mixed with the blood of his chin,
running down the sleek neck you eyed with worry,
or if you hadn’t seen those three boys closing in on him,
or if your father didn’t leave his rifle beside the sofa in the living room,
or if only those boys fled when they saw you with that double barrel,
or if only they stopped approaching when you told them to,
or if only they listened when you warned them,
or if only they had taken you seriously, 
but they didn’t.


In response to being questioned by authorities the morning she was arrested for firing two 
shots into the ground with a double-barreled rifle near the feet of three boys that had 
chased her brother in their 1939 Chevrolet pickup before jumping out of their vehicle and 
pursuing him on foot through the wooded shortcut he ducked and dodged through to get 
home and evade his pursuers in all their unyielding fury for a reason he was sure stemmed 
much deeper than the launch and miss of an empty Coca-Cola bottle that they had thrown 
at him only moments prior 

                                                                                                           I was protecting my brother


Reasons for Release

Heard her daddy and sheriff served together 
That her daddy saved sheriff’s life
                                                                                                                 Cuz she a young girl and ain’t no one 
                                                                                                                     want no marshal sniffin’ round here
And when them boys’ uncle took them to the
station they said she shot at them
                                                                                                     Cuz when the police pulled them bullets from 
                                                                                                     the ground their trajectory was pointing down
                                                     

                                                   Cuz them boys was on they property                                                                                                                                                    and had no business being there 

Since her grandmamma took care of sheriff’s
wife when she was a baby
                                                                                                        Cuz she a pretty young thang with killa’ legs
                                                                                                                 and one of them police boys want her
And them boys’ parents tore up they hind parts
for stealing they grandpappy’s truck 
                                                                                                                        Cuz black folks ain’t got no rights 
                                                                                                                                       but to protect they home

                                                        Cuz the police couldn’t figure out
                                                                what to charge her with

Since them boys’ mama been buying her 
jarred peaches from her mama for ten years
                                                                                                    Cuz her brother had to go to the hospital and 
                                                                                                         get ten stiches in his jaw and four in his leg
And her granddaddy drove her brother over there 
and made him apologize for throwin’ that bottle
                                                             

                                                               Cuz she could have killed em’                                                                                                                                                                         but didn’t

                                                                                                                                   Cuz the white folks in town
                                                                                                                                                  respect her family
Since she’s always been
a good girl

                                            Cuz she was right, 
                                                                        no,
                                                                           Cuz she was lucky

 

A Toronto, ON native, Morgan has a tendency to get lost in scenic views, good books, and potent aromas which might account for the slow, but steady, intention of getting her blog up and running. Her work has appeared in Hippocampus, Germ Magazine, Vagabonds, & was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s 2013 Family Matters competition. She plans to attend graduate school & obtain an MFA in Creative Writing in the fall of 2015.