Time the Hangman
by William Carlos Williams
[from Sour Grapes (1921)]
Poor old Abner, old white-haired nigger!
I remember when you were so strong
you hung yourself by a rope round the neck
in Doc Hollister’s barn to prove you could beat
the faker in the circus–and it didn’t kill you.
Now your face is in your hands, and your elbows
are on your knees, and you are silent and broken.