Photograph of Lynching, Pre-1915: Place and Photographer, Unknown

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(after Robert Johnson’s, “Hellhound on my Trail”)

There’s a hellhound on his trail, hellhound, there’s
a hellhound on his trail, on his trail, a
pack of hounds hunting him fleeing their pack.
Found by hounds, found by men, by camera found.
Camera sees body slumped to its knees. Camera
sees what should not be seen, what must be seen:

murder, eye-socket bullet-blackened, murder;
wounds where ears once heard hellhounds chasing; wounds
from bullets hunting groin close range; wounds from
bullets exploding mouth to blood-blooms; bullets
found target leather-bound to pine trunk, found
bound hands useless to prevent its lead hounds

hounding of helpless flesh tethered for hounding.
Kneeling, once black man looks bound black man kneeling.
Dark brown head looks left, lost, sees something dark.
Low scrub plains, endless, show plantation low.
Background, two white men sit in carriage, background.
Well-dressed, erect, ensuring all goes well.