Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

The Red Center

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.