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I See a Smear of Animal on the Road and Mistake it for Philando Castile

By Ashley M. Jones

After Officer Jeronimo Yanez is acquitted on June 16, 2017

Don’t need lawyers

                              when you split a body in two
                                                                 on the highway—

Don’t need courtrooms
               and the judge’s billowing robe, its filthy swaddling cloth—

What handcuffs exist for an accidental animal killing?

What law says a tire can’t                  push        a soft seam open    between rubber & tar?

What law says a man can’t bleed like a possum
                                                                   a greedy raccoon
                                                                                                         in his own car?

What                               law                                says                                stop?

When the jurors finished the meal they’d made of him—filet of buck—

they wiped their seeping gums with napkins, burped,

and swore they smelled something burning,

                                                                                                       perhaps, a laughing gun—

Added: Wednesday, March 7, 2018  /  Ashley Jones' poem was awarded Second Place in the 2018 Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest, sponsored by Split This Rock. Sonia Sanchez lent her generous acumen as judge for the contest.
Ashley M. Jones
Photo by Joel Brouwer.

Ashley M. Jones received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award. Her debut collection, Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press, 2017), won the silver medal in Poetry in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her second collection, dark // thing, won the 2018 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press. She lives and teaches in Birmingham, Alabama.

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