poem index

Viewing a KKK Uniform at the Civil Rights Institute

by Ashley Jones
 

All you can really tell at first
is that it was starched.
Some Betty Sue, Marge, Jane,
some proper girl
with a great black iron
made those corners sharp.
The hood, white and ablaze
with creases,
body flat and open
for husband, brother, son.
Behind the glass,
it seems frozen, waiting
for summer night
to melt it into action,
for the clean white flame
of God to awaken its limbs.
In front of it, you are dwarfed—
you imagine a pair of pupils
behind the empty holes
of the mask.
Behind the stiff cotton,
would the eyes squint
to see through small white slits,
or would they open wide
as a burning house
to hunt you down
until you pooled
like old rope
before them?