such a day

A heavy rain drew welts across the courthouse lawn but spared the lemon trees. The girl watched several old men bunch around the drooped branches, stoop to pick up the fallen fruit, then set each one down precisely where it had dropped. Occasionally, a mindful dog would roll one along with its nose, mouth it […]

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And this is where you will find me: beside a good dog who can sniff out the scent of bullfrogs hunched between the soaked knees of Cypress trees; where an old woman in her kitchen can hear the soft swoop of a cherrywood paddle before it slices through tangles of swamp, and where I am […]

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The lowly roads of grit and stone brought Actress home. She surrendered her Jeep near the highway, parked it beside a dense imbroglio of pokeweed and gutted cardboard. Daybreak percolated below a broad swath of Kwanzan cherry trees, scattering immaculate light across Cornelius Lancaster’s tobacco field. She left this place wearing river-soaked Nike knockoffs forty […]

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Nicolas Waltz has left again

1/ Vertical You are not the man you projected, Nicolas Waltz; you are not the man I protected for so long. I thought I knew you from the stale air gathered between us, your affected ease with a Goethe quote — Oh, why do you draw me, irresistibly, Into all this magnificence? — written in […]

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Bobbi sits with her husband

Shoulders squared, she recalls. You must wear a calm, unremarkable smile. Unaware, her left hand rests on his calf, ring finger prominent for her half of the photograph. She wears an apricot dress, freshly pressed for Mass, and pineapple decorative ruffle sandals, flat on the floor, hair gathered in a complex construct of barrettes and […]

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Lord, July

Lord, July: All your scarecrows are spurned in Issaquena, blighted and lonesome and gray. Listened to the hollow burs as we walked, somehow kept time to their fidgety rattle. Some soldiers, the young ones, reached down to snag one, press their fingers along the stems, as if they never saw cotton before, as if they […]

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He presumes to understand the cat sanskrit writ across the front mud yard, the vigorous dialect of entrails, the still-wet scribbles collected around the jacaranda tree trunk. He takes a rake to the mess, gathers bones in a small paper sack, folds dirt over the killing ground. This has become his morning ritual, and he […]

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By nightfall

She knows / settled into her land she knows / the land will settle onto her she knows / she is wholly unafraid she lost her Silas twenty- seven years come September they stood through blighted mornings / stooped beneath gritty eaves / toed over ice bubbled gravel / laid hands upon evening’s shimmered lantern […]

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Where we go dancing

Me and Fo’ were well-digging since 6:30 that morning — same as every day since the middle of August — at Missus Bryant’s place near the edge of the Tallahatchie, and we looked exactly as what we claimed: gritty all the way under our hats and teeth. Miss Francine, Fo’s older cousin from Chicago, said […]

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