25 02 2022

The twinned images appeared in different forms after February 26, 2012, and gave way, with the years, to others, multiples. The image below, by Brooklyn artist Dáreece Walker, was reprinted by The Nation in March of 2020. The twinning calls to mind another poem, by the great Gwendolyn Brooks, from her 1960 book, The Bean Eaters. Readers are encouraged to see also a companion poem by Brooks, “A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon.”

(artwork: Dáreece Walker)

The Last Quatrain of Emmett Till

    after the murder,
    after the burial

Emmett’s mother is a pretty-faced thing;
    the tint of pulled taffy.
She sits in a red room,
    drinking black coffee.
She kisses her killed boy.
    And she is sorry.
Chaos in windy grays
    through a red prairie.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in 1917 and lived most of her life in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. Her many other books include A Street in Bronzeville, Annie Allen (for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950), Maud Martha and In the Mecca. She was the US Poet Laureate in 1985-86. The Morgan Library in New York City has a wonderful exhibition called “Magnitude and Bond: The Work of Gwendolyn Brooks in Community,” now until June 5, 2022.



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