Kyle G. Dargan

Failed Sonnet After the Verdict

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue

Failed Sonnet After the Verdict

I’ve begun, one month since, to believe it was Zimmerman
who screamed behind that 911 call. It’s easier to imagine
he understood American better than Trayvon Martin—
that he’d inhaled enough raced air to sniff that history’s
record would note any shrill plea as his, as the peril
of a brown man overwhelmed rather than the terror

of a deeper brown boy. The gun—I do not believe
its triggering was hate. Zimmerman I find guilty
of collusion: using our past as a rusty cotton gin fan
yoked to the idea of some young menace, sinking both
beneath a blood river of preordained defense. No jury
exists for such drowning. In America, angst again
has absolved the finger clenched in fear of we shadows,
the loud silencing of our hearts’ transgressive beat.


Kyle G. Dargan is an Associate Professor of Literature and Director of Creative Writing at American University, as well as the founding editor of Post No Ills. His four poetry collections are Honest Engine (2015), Logorrhea Dementia (2010), Bouquet of Hungers (2007), and The Listening (2004), all from the University of Georgia Press. His nonfiction has appeared in The Star-Ledger, Ebony and The Root. His work has been awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and he was named one of Washingtonian Magazine's "Forty Under Forty: Young Washingtonians to Watch." Dargan serves on the advisory committees of Split This Rock Poetry Festival, The American Poetry Museum, and Torch. To read more by this author: Museum Issue, Five Poems, Volume 8:1, Winter 2007, Wartime Issue