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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The point of a circle

i. In this twice-awful summer, we’ve become seasoned to the swell of black powder and scorched cedars coming in from Dorian Bandy’s old tobacco farm. One pretty day, I’ll invite you to see for yourself the swath of red-dirt graves stretched out like a shadow across that particular valley.  Joselia, it’s not just us who […]

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Rhapsody

You tell me about the elasticity of mourning, and I still don’t think you know what that means. Laurel, am I supposed to shoetree this, fit it into something comfortable for you? How do you carry it, all this anger, and more; do you expect me to carry it for you? So. Here it is. […]

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A collection of things

The trade winds have roughened since yesterday. There’s a cinnamon whiff of Carolina allspice in the air, another thing that’s blown in from the south. It doesn’t remind me of home, but it does remind me where I came from. Each thing in this room is balanced by another thing, and each of them falls, […]

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Brewers Mills 1974

This is the place where the story becomes unbearable if left untold, he said. This is where the tale-teller sacrifices everything that bears the weight of all that noise. I listened to him rant, again. It was always about the providence of the tale-teller, never about the other participant, the sacrificial listener. He could have […]

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Lime slippers

I . You said:  “So — and just so you know this, just so you recognize what I am telling you — this will mean the end of your crisp hospital corners.” “Française, please, Marie. Pas d’anglais s’il vous plaît.” You squeezed your eyes shut. You hated this; I knew this about you. “Cela signifiera […]

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sub.stance

I remember when dust was more beautiful than substance, something uncatchable, something whisked into cat corners. This was home. This was being a child.  There is a box of in-season lettuce on the sidewalk beside the glass doors of Karl’s Barber Shop. Ladybugs — many — are sitting on the cardboard folds. Do they sit […]

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Caius

we sleep above the roots our legs knotted our hands folded beneath us listening for the weeds to rinse from our ears all the twitches of the road we have seen all there is, you say, and we will eat what first must be blessed — old hamburger meat and flour tortillas from torn plastic […]

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