i.m. George Floyd
What was Orwell’s picture of the future
in 1984 — Imagine a boot
stamping on a human face forever.
Black people must see in the footage
of Chauvin and Floyd a white knee
pressing down on a black neck forever.
There is the black man’s neck and shoulder
naked under the white cop’s clothed knee.
How do you say power differential?
And then there is — for the love of God! — the hand
in pocket. Why should that detail be so
disturbing? As though he were doing nothing
more than rummaging for car keys. And Floyd’s
face so contorted while the cop retains
a flat, dispassionate manner. Murder
most casual . . . Floyd in his last moments
calling for mama, what any child might do falling
into the hands of a stone-cold sadist.
—Thomas R. Smith
Illustration: Atlanta Wiggs