red meat of the dawn across my shoulders.
Unsettled grackles in fig trees
breath leaving their beaks as balls of startled smoke.
Geese in blue fog lifting clumsy out of rice fields.
Seed bull in an unplowed field bellowing
Heffers in the pines, tick birds on their backs
calling, “forlorn, forlorn, forlorn”.
Blunt odor of rain held in red clay
heavy in the lungs as the smell of hog’s blood.
Night crawlers washed to the surface of the road
gathered into a dixie cup.
Used to fish for sun perch in Stephen’s Creek
where roots of white magnolia try to take hold of you
try to draw you down into green water.
Mildew rising out of cattails.
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.