An Elegy on Castile

Crystal Anderson


                                   “The inert lifeless mass calls out into space”
                                                   -“Suite” by John Ashbury

A face became more than a face;
eyes lingering, cleared of daydreams.
He was just here.

The recorded silence overrode the noise
of the shooter’s fear. The body lay still
as if a protracted pause interrupted the actions

his face was supposed to be capable of.
The girlfriend screamed, very much alive,
broadcasting her grief. He was just here.

A child in the backseat, her faceless mewls
reached towards impossible comfort.
The black man’s face survived dying.


His name like it should be: a song,
layered notes in consonant repose.
But those four or five shots plucked the music

rapidly from his core. He did not linger as Lincoln,
blind and breathing through the night.
Quick as King at the Lorraine Motel,

he died.
Castile: a single iamb released
into the world as a mass flebile quavering;

as if he, in absence, had continued climbing,
transcending his own major and minor confines.
Rolling chords of unafraid bodies

added his theme to an infinite canon.
The music sounded more bereft and round
with the passing of each viral bang.

In this forte, countermelodies forged themselves
not as the codas we hoped for: the caesura
brought about when the dissonance resolves.

Unadorned men are alive in this fantasia,
their names blowing without differentiation
between a segue and chorus. There is a struggle
to remember the differences between dead places,
pieces that when distorted become echoes.
Call and response thrums lower than hearing,

a long-term event before the fire.


Crystal Anderson is an American living in northern England and received her Ph.D. from the University of Manchester. Recently published work can be found in Literary Imagination and Communion.