At Last, Night

(in memoriam to Atatiana Koquice Jefferson*)

Max Smith
Max Smith
Nov 5, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash (Not Atatiana)

hat last night

Your hushed breath yanked from your body
Your fair limbs, still too dark
For pardon,
Less (bless) human understanding,
Spread themselves thin
In weathervane fashion

Splaying, in multiple directions,
Control abandoned
The white wood floor rising up
To greet you The world overtaken
By red of the butcher

Blue your favorite color since childhood
Blue the color of understanding
Blue happy mommy
Blue likes me

I, laughing, turned
To greet you, in the midst of
Rethreading my needle

Child, curly headed, wild one
Full of wonder. Be still
A moment for mommy
Be silent.

Your eyes serene bleed
Everything but quiet.
Blue mommy.
Blue is laughing dancing.

Red your final judgement.
Red blotting out all horizons
Drawing closer
The darkness in the distance

Here now,
A cold rectangular silence
Weapons like sirens
Crack open the nighttime

Retrieving all that came
Was before and behind us
Sending you down
into the darkness

Plunging soundless into blindness
the careening vortex
you its nadir center and apex

No shouted announcements
whispers of warnings
A mother’s kiss on the cheek
goodnight darling

Outline of shadow
faceless beyond a window
A shot in the dark
A concert of wailing
A boy’s slight tongue
locked into mourning

At last, night
no more morning

Artist Nikkolas Smith painted this image of Atatiana Jefferson and her nephew playing video games, as he imagined them doing, on that fateful night.

*Atatiana Koquice Jefferson was a 28-year-old African-American woman who was shot and killed in her home by a white police officer in the early morning hours of Oct. 12th. Ms. Jefferson was up late playing video games with her 8-year old nephew when a neighbor called police to report an open door at her home. The neighbor, James Smith, said he’d called a non-emergency number and expected police to do a wellness check, but within minutes of their arrival Atatiana Jefferson was dead.

  • Excerpt from CNN News article:
    ‘Eventually, the officer approaches a window, shining a flashlight into what appears to be a dark room. “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” the officer screams. He does not identify himself as police.
  • ‘Within two seconds of starting his verbal commands, the officer fires a shot through the window while he’s in the middle of saying “show me” for the second time.
  • ‘Jefferson was pronounced dead minutes later.’
Image of Atatiana Jefferson on left as an adult, and photo of her and her siblings as children on the right. Atatiana is the little girl on the left.
Picture of Atatiana Jefferson taken from WTVR Channel 6 News, Forth Worth, Texas

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Max Smith

Written by

Max Smith

Motivated by social justice, equality, humanity. Using words to shed light, build bridges & narrow gaps. |

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

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