red meat of the dawn across my shoulders.
Unsettled grackles in fig trees
breath leaving their beaks as balls of startled smoke.
Geese in a blue fog lifting clumsy out of rice fields.
Heffers in the pines, tick birds on their backs
calling, “forlorn, forlorn, forlorn”.
Seed bull in an unplowed field bellowing
Blunt odor of rain held in the red clay
heavy in the lungs as the smell of hog’s blood.
Night crawlers washed to the surface of the road
gathered in a dixie cup
to fish for sun perch in Stephen’s Creek.
Roots of white magnolia take hold of you
try to draw you down into the green.
Mildew rising out of cattail.
Everything alive breathing lungs full of damp
holding it deep in the chest
as if a single breath can be a refuge
In every heart there is a bullet hole seeping blood through limestone.