My sister and I climb
the giant magnolia in MamMaw’s yard
until we can see into
the second story windows of her house
and the side porch shrinks
cotton prices are too low,
so and so's a good nigger,
the boys are comin’ over for a dove shoot
Deer Creek looks like it’s on the rise,
Emily Stark's sister is goin’ to Ole Miss,
and nothin' good ever came out of Tupelo
except for Willie Morris.
Meanwhile, the big tree smells of earth and coming rain,
and we find random prayers unfurling
like blooms in the dark leaves.
As the light begins to fade,
we climb down for dinner with the adults
and more news about cotton,
the market in Memphis,
who's worth something and who isn't,
the righteous and the ne’er-do-wells,
and the predicament of storms on the horizon.