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The Lottery

………….by Casey McLerran

All the families gathered after hearing the barking call ring out into the sunshine.

Mothers and grandmothers took note of the children nearby,

Wondering who would answer the call today.

As the crowds poured from homes, and businesses alike,

The energy of the street pulsed like a beating heart.

The location was never prescribed, but no one went in the wrong direction.

The silence was broken only by children who were broken too,

Making immature wish lists should their family be the one to be called on today.

Their shadows writhing on the ground mirrored their souls, a pit of snakes

Agonizing as the limbs of a mother twisting on the ground searching for a relief that never will come home.

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No one had to push or shove to see, to know, who was chosen.

Isis sang her searching song from the mouth whose heart had dropped and shattered

At her feet when the shot rang out.

Mothers’ always know when a heart of her own starts or stops.

Because mother was the first to know she was also last to arrive, her song of mercy spilled on the crowd

Like bloodshed first hot and pulsing then cold and coagulating.

The crowd was silent except for the sobbing screams that came from their center.

There were no condolences or kindnesses that could penetrate just now.

Everyone was aware of their numb horror, their burning rage, the shame at their hidden joy (not us, not today…).

Everyone was aware that the gun that rang out that day was not mired in some nefarious illegal activity,

Neither was the boy who received its report.

Everyone was aware the withering mother, calling for mercy too late, was not only holding the lifeless body of her youngest son.

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She had her numbers called that day, said some of the broken adults whose losses were never so handsomely compensated.

No charges are filed, a small sacrifice to keep the continuity of law and order.

A year passed then two. Mother never broke her silence.

When her mouth opened only the song of Isis searching for all the little

Pieces of her heart came out.

She left her front door open  wide as her eyes had been since her ticket was pulled.

Diamonds were purchased with her grief,

but none so handsome as the boy who bought her ticket.

This is what winning looks like.


Literary Editor

Casey McLerran is the Literary Editor at the Black Wall Street Times. She is a Sooner State transplant from Forest Hills, NY. McLerran arrived in Oklahoma at the age of three shortly after gentrification displaced her and her family out of their home in New York. At first glance, many think they have McLerran figured out. To be frank, she’s a biracial American young woman that unapologetically embraces her half-African identity — a feminist-womanist she is. Her pen operates as her voice as well as her sword. Her accolades include the 2018 Rural Oklahoma Poetry Museum’s Oklahoma Poem Award, a business management degree, and her three beautiful children. Her objective with the Black Wall Street Times is to elevate and amplify the literary art of modern black American culture, pay tribute to African-American literary trailblazers, all while simultaneously linking and introducing children to the world of colorful American writers.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...