In a poem, Slater describes pictures of Richard that he has up loaded onto his Facebook page. The poem has several verses, and each verse has only two lines describing a single picture.
The short structure of each of Slater’s verses mirrors the minimal information that can be gleaned from Richard’s photographs. This implies that Richard cannot be fully understood at a glance, which is often the case with racial discrimination.
The pictures reflect Richard at different times in his life, “At fourteen, in a beanie: / round-faced, bright-eyed,” and “At sixteen: jaw slack, brows raised, / expression asking, What?” The pictures capture his family, “Smiling beside his cousin’s / slit-eyed hilarity,” and “Soft-eyed on a sofa, / younger brother cuddled on his chest.”
Furthermore, Richard’s childhood pictures have the effect of reminding readers that he is just a child, and that he shouldn’t be tried as an adult. The pictures with his family make him appear loving and tender, and incapable of committing a hate crime.
The pictures also depict Richard’s life with his friends. “Standing with Skeet, spines straight, / chins up, peas in a pod. / And later, beside Skeet’s picture, / wearing a bandanna in tribute.”
These pictures reflect the pain Richard endures after his friend, Skeet, is murdered. Slater depicts Richard as a teenager struggling with the emotions of loss, and this makes it easier to forgive him for his attack on Sasha.
But, Slater writes, “None of it captures / how [Richard] looks in conversation / how his eye hold your eyes, / seeing you see him. / His own secret power: / that paying attention.”
Again, Slater implies that the photographs are an incomplete picture of Richard. Richard’s actions cannot be judged or condemned without first seeing the larger picture.