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Ode to the Whistle Boy

O sweet boy, my sweet boy, are you there?
O blue boy, my blue boy, are you there?
O dead boy, my dead boy, what’s the noise?
O Till boy, my Till boy, many heard.

O chucked boy, my chucked boy, can you breathe?
O blue boy, my dear boy, can you breathe?
O filled boy, my filled boy, what’s been said?
O Till boy, my Till boy, they got some nerve.

O river boy, my river boy, can’t you swim?
O blue boy, cotton-gin boy, can’t you swim?
O bullet boy, bullet-head boy, can’t you move?
O Till boy, my Till boy, does it burn?

O blood boy, my blood boy, don’t you worry.
O blue, southern-boy boy, don’t you worry.
O whistle, lovely whistle boy, see ya kin?
O Till boy, my Till boy, ya’ve been tortured.

O stripped boy, stripped clean boy, heaven’ll come.
O blue boy, August-blue boy, heaven’ll come.
O black bird, my black bird, they cracked ya wings.
O Till boy, my Till boy, ya breath deferred.

O croon boy, bye baby boy, I’m sick of their shit.
O blue boy, revenge-blue boy, I’m sick of their shit.
O resurrect boy, resurrect boy, wanna see you rise.
O Till boy, my Till boy, I see ya conjured.

O Tallahatchie boy, Tallahatchie boy, let’s go a haunting.
O blue boy, haint-blue boy, let’s go a haunting.
O please boy, pretty please boy, can’t we go a killing?
O Till boy, my Till boy, we will slit their throats.

for Emmett Till

Luther Hughes