Quiet now your tongue You’re in this cotton land
Oaks swing long limbs of men on this cotton land

You come with song stuck under your heels like heat
The moist pinprick of flesh Jazz of this tin land

You come with language of the sharp-jawed breath
Snow How it pops beneath the eyelids within land

You come They won’t have your sin Your cocked fedora
Can’t mask your grin much longer on this olden land

You come They will have your skin Your mettle
Your sole will leave the firmness of this whitened land

Quiet now your tongue You’re spilling in the river’s hand
Oaks cloud the sinking of your finger in this cotton land

Click the image below to purchase A Wreath for Emmett Till, which features more poems inspired by Emmett Till, this time by Marilyn Nelson, who we interview later this issue. All purchases from Amazon that use this link will help support The Other Journal.