by Tyler Hawkins
He has black sideburns and a pale peened face,
The creek-width black water of the Alapaha is hidden by a hedge of tupelos,
myrtles, gallberries and oaks,
The smothery smell of cooking tobacco drifts from the tarpapered barn,
south of the house,
Both get in, door latches snib,
Her old-girl face juts to the dull tin sky.
Suddenly, two men burst like a storm through the screen door and loom over the table,
A second quick report sets off a medley of singing glass as the windowpanes
Clatter and collapse in pealing shards to the floor,
A snuffy smell seems to dim the overhead light showering yellow on bundles of
thin tobacco sticks and the dirt nap of the floor tatted with tobacco leaves and
rosettes of white twine,
They might have had to take stuff off men before but they ain't nomore,
"Guess they don't have nothing else to say," she said,
"But if they gone go to bragging about all their ugly doings, we ain't interested.
The blast bounces hollow off the walls and idles out to the croaking of frogs at the
river and the pinging of beetles around the hot bulb, a smoky ring of cordite,
the men march, peering back with glazed faces, toward the crumbling old well,
"That's gone, or maybe it never was...maybe everybody's like you two, dogs in a pack."
They let go, spiraling through the abyss of their screams rising up.