From red dirt
comes bitter greens,
turnip, mustard, and collard;
comes the sweet corn which
brews white liquor.
Filthy pigs eat the scraps
that become hams hung
in smoke.
Each spring memories
of bleeding hands
revive when the cotton blooms.
Clapboard stores reside beside dirt roads,
painted with fading advertisements
for dairies long closed.
Surviving barber shops, where
wisdom is doled from a cup
of warm foam, form
the redoubt, the protection
of our old men.
On Sunday, Hell is flung
at our old ladies
by preachers who
are sure to be raptured
soon.
Teachers promise children
that anyone can be
president.
Grannies who’ve never set foot
out of town
complain over coffee
that the laundry never
comes clean.

Spring comes, greens grow.
What begins tender, ends hard.​

 


 

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