Red Summer 

Sarah Lanphear 

There’s an etching in the southern magnolia 

on the corner of Fourth and Mae, a scar  

hidden by flowers, sticks, and leaves 

on a branch just low enough, 

just within reach. 

The cut buried 

by men who know how to hide 

when they need to, who know  

to work by night. White 

hoods masked 

by the dark. 


The wound deepens  

with each sunset, suffocating  

a branch not made to bear the weight  

of a man or the tension  

of a rope. 


But the hoods are too tied up to see  

the carving, cutting too deep,  

the branch, wearing away  

until the day it finally 


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