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Back Story to The Green Mile

Light splays out in a ribbed halo
from the movie projector behind his head.
“They’s angels,” he whispers into the soft ears

of theatre dark, his lips full of smile,
his brown eyes soft with pleasure, captive
to the fluid graces of Fred and Ginger

who swirl and step so lightly across
the screen that a condemned man could almost
forget the hot electric current

waiting, nearly ready to soar
the spirit from his great black body. 
“Angels, jes like up in heaven,” he whispers.

But not even his face in that haloed moment,
or the story of his hands full of miracle,
is enough to redeem the ten thousand frames

of shuffling and bewilderment already unwound
and spilled through the black pinpoint portals
that feed into our watchful souls.

Not for me, mother of white sons,
still looking for a better ending.
Not for two young black men a few seats

over, who stand up and walk out precisely
at this moment, turning their backs
on the same old dance, one more minstrel show.

- Druzelle Cederquist
Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley 2007

Poetry Notes for this poem at Luminous Realities blog