Thursday, October 13, 2011

'Short History of the American South' by Amorak Huey

                    “Blood where the sky has opened.”

 – Jorie Graham

“You may bury my body, ooh

down by the highway side

So my old evil spirit

can catch a Greyhound bus and ride”

 – Robert Johnson

Up early. Water level low enough to walk

a hundred yards toward horizon: mud flats

crack and squelch underfoot. No one

                                      else is here

this morning. Unfamiliar sun awaits,

hungry dark lingers against gulf’s goodbye kiss,

last girl in the dance hall, first one

to meet your eye. A wink is a promise

and a threat: follow or sit down.

In this part of the world we are never

alone and this is not my story.

How many songs before you understand

why a body must keep moving?

That when you stop, you die. This is said

of certain sharks, though it might be untrue –

but we do all of us sense blood. Imagine:

single drop: one million gallons of saltwater. Still,

there is nothing evil in this world –

your chances

of being divine so small as to be invisible –

                           to peel back

what is known about the visible

requires a sort of wisdom,

an awareness of danger – you find yourself

in this spot where the last rivers end

and sky folds into ocean –

closer & closer, then farther away.

"Short History of the American South" appeared in Blue Earth Review 8.2 (Spring 2010).

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