by Ed Hammerli
In the red center of the South,
life is flat.
From dark plows brick dust rises
higher than the swamp-green forests.
White cattle egrets descend
like fingernail scratches
to live off earth’s flaked, red skin,
torn to blood by heavy tractors.
Shallow cotton crop roots
will stitch ripped flesh,
rain will salve and slow death’s face
while savvy men buy stock in other places.