Two poems by Andre F. Peltier

Antebellum Echoes

“This is something that is a local matter
and that’s something that we feel
should be left up to the local
authorities at this
point in time.”

– Sarah Sanders

Aunt Marthy
sold biscuits in
she laid by,
little by little,
pennies, nickels, dimes
to buy freedom
for her displaced
Commodity handed down,
generation to generation,
and wealth retained.
That money, laid by,
instead, credited the

And at Twin Lakes
central Florida,
home of alligators,
Zora Neale,
and Mickey Mouse,
a coward stood his
And Trayvon lay
deadful dead.
Seventeen years,
Sybrina and Tracy
Drowning in tears.
The coward
carries the

“Four hundred years
the white man has had
his foot-long knife
in the black man’s back…”

The mentally
lone wolf, white male
needs sympathy
and forgiveness,
but none for
Killed while cuffed
near the car.
Whose lives
And Cleveland cops
carry the

Big Mike
shared his songs
on Soundcloud.
At eighteen years,
he was going to fix
air conditioners.
At eighteen years,
he was blown down
on the streets of
And Mark Twain
rolled over.
And Jay Nixon
passed the

“…and now the white man
starts to wiggle
the knife out,
maybe six inches!…”

Lead in the waters
of Flint.
Lead in the waters
of Baltimore
where Korryn Gaines
met her end.
A puddle of blood
and a five-year-old son.
She licensed herself,
but Baltimore County
Sans body cams,
Licensed themselves.
No cam shots of the

Rodney King lived
to watch Reginald
pulled from his truck
and stoned.
But Motown’s own
Malice Green,
with skull on the sidewalk,
was holding eights and aces
as the peace-men
played their clubs.
And Alton Sterling
and Dee Dee Dodds,
no charges filed,
never saw the

“…The black man’s
supposed to be

Then lonely Mya Hall.
“Out here,
you can be
You can be
Looking for that
in the darkness,
Mya wandered while
TSA met
with loaded guns.
Jeh Johnson
secured the

Armed but with a
telephone, twenty shots
in his own backyard,
in his own holy city of
Stephon Clark will be
forgotten too.
Another Ferguson.
Another Charlottesville
With bad folks
on both sides,
James Alex Fields
handed to unnamed
officers in Sacramento the

“…Why, if the white man
jerked the knife out,
it’s still going to leave a

So shout their fucking names
from the rooftops
and from the hillsides
and from the mountains
of the world.
And Malcolm
never touched the

(Originally published 2/2/21 by Big Whoopie Deal now defunkt)




When War Broke Out

On the edge of the gully grew
three old apple trees,
stately and gnarled.
The remnants of some
grove or orchard,
at one time sweet and juicy,
now the size of golf balls
and sour as the day was long.
We climbed and ate none-the-less.
Hours we spent
in those trees.
Hours we spent hiding
in the leaves.

In spring, the blossoms bent boughs
and filled the air
with our stately perfume.
Like snow after a
white blooms blanketed the canopy
and consumed creation
with autumnal nectar.
But it was in summer
we climbed.
It was during those long,
golden days
we perched with robins and jays
atop the greenery.

We were drawn to those lofty treetops,
all of the children
in the neighborhood.
Compelled to make it
than the day before,
higher than our friends.
Some were giants
while others were a tangled mess
of honeysuckle or lilacs.
We conquered them all,
Hand over hand.
But those twisted apples
always beckoned.

Sometimes, in early fall, war broke out.
Ten kids within the trees;
ten in the adjacent field…
and the apples were
volley after volley.
Hours passed
as we played at combat.
No winners or losers,
just bruised children
and bruised apples.
In the end, mice and worms
would feast as we were called
home at dusk.

(Published 1/26/21 by The Great Lakes Review)


Andre F. Peltier (he/him) is a Pushcart Nominee and a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches literature and writing. He lives in Ypsilanti, MI, with his wife and children. His poetry has recently appeared in various publications like CP Quarterly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Provenance Journal, Lavender and Lime Review, About Place, Novus Review, Fiery Scribe, and Fahmidan Journal, and most recently in Magpie Literary Journal, The Brazos Review, and Idle Ink. In his free time, he obsesses over soccer and comic books.

Twitter: @aandrefpeltier


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