Three months before Emmett Till arrived
Reverend George Lee was killed
by a shotgun blast to the face.
It was ruled a traffic accident.
He had been the first to register
to vote in his county.
One week before Emmett Till arrived
Lamar Smith voted in the democratic primary
and was shot at high noon
in front of the county courthouse.
There were no arrests.
Medgar cried when he heard about young Till.
Then he dressed as a sharecropper
helped find witnesses
and smuggled them out of town
for their safety.
When Uncle Mose stood up in court,
pointed right at J. W. Milam, identified him
as the killer, we thought the air would split,
but it didn’t.
Instead a seam opened up in that place
where we kept all our fears.