In the last year or so I’ve collected all the photos of Booker Wright that I could get my hands on. I made numerous calls, visited people, and had relatives send pictures from their homes around the country. All of that work produced a total of six photos of my late grandfather.
Today I saw eight more. They were all taken at the same time. In them, my grandfather is lying on a table without a shirt on. His stomach has eight lines in it that look like wounds that have been stapled shut. Each one is about three inches wide and there is about an inch separating them. They are all in a row from his chest down past his navel. It’s hard to describe these stapled wounds because there is something in front of them, blocking my view. It looks like an organ or maybe two.
Someone who saw these photos briefly a few months ago said that it was intestines. Seeing them for myself today, I know it’s not his intestines. Someone else thought it may be his liver. I can’t look at the photos long enough to make a guess. I’ll show them to a doctor when I get back home.
His side is riddled with pellets from the shotgun blast. His eyes are closed. I can’t tell whether or not he is dead or alive.
There is a tube and bottles of things around him. It looks like he is in a closet or a makeshift morgue, but the Chief of Police insists that’s what hospital rooms looked like in the sixties here in Greenwood. I need to take these photos to an expert.
I broke down when I saw these photos. Part of my mind is screaming. Part of my mind is numb. I needed to see these to get to the bottom of things, I think. I don’t know. Does uncovering every stone get me further to the truth or just more exposed to the horrific reality of loss? I have tears and I don’t know why. I can’t pinpoint the feeling. It has no name.
My mother can never see these photos.