Day Twenty-Two: "I Am the Night—Color Me Black"
It’s not about whether the man
was guilty or not. It’s about the sick
joy taken in the suffering of others,
the way sight becomes veiled
by assumptions, the literal nightfall
that chokes every ray of light
in this town that gathers to celebrate
a hanging. The sun refuses to rise
and they are all complicit: the sheriff,
his wife, even the pastor who sees
what is really happening. And even
the possibly blameless condemned man
becomes guilty, a knotted sphere of hatred.
And the lesson to be learned, we are
told, is that nothing here can be
reduced to this small town, the fiction
from ours. The lesson, in 1964
and now, is that all of this hate
is entirely real. Nothing has changed
and things have grown darker, and we
have not listened to Serling’s exhortation.
And it seems sometimes that all the lights
are very close to going out.