Delta Blues

by Kevin Heaton

Before daddy left, he gave mama
a brand-new feed sack dress, and planted
one last crop; I was her: God’s Perfect
Number, the seventh heavenly stair step
to kick at her backbone, breeched,
then brought by a poor white trash
midwife. That year, our windmill

huffed the horse trough full of mule
dust, and the persimmon cheeks hollowed
in early September. A field of bluebells
captured an awol rebel sun shower,
then flanked a hackberry column
on the north fence line, and drank the rest
of the water. The old Southern Gentry
had long since vanished, but only rich white
folks could book space on the Glory Train.
Martin wasn’t born yet, so the saints weren’t
marchin’ in.
He left us south of the Mason-Dixon Line
in a cottonwood sharecropper shanty, squat
over the scratch dirt where an overseers
pointer pup itched his worms, then hung
a Rainbow Bread sign on our screen door
to set it apart from the trees. I grew up along
the Yazoo, where roly polys pushed each
other across farmed out river bottom flatland,
and ebony ivories still harped on ‘Delta Blues.’


 

keaton2Pushcart Prize nominee Kevin Heaton was born in Kansas, and now lives and writes in South Carolina. His fascination with history and love for the outdoors have led him on a journey to better understand life beyond the city limits. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in 150 publications, including: Raleigh Review, Foundling Review, Mason’s Road, The Honey Land Review, and elimae. His fourth chapbook, Chronicles, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in early 2012. He is a Best of the Net 2011 nominee.

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10 thoughts on “Delta Blues

  1. Melinda Goodman says:

    Wow, Kevin. If this didn’t win a Pushcart Prize I would like to see what did. This is magnificent poetry.

    Like

  2. Melinda Goodman says:

    Wow, Kevin. If this didn’t win a Pushcart Prize I would like to see what did. This is magnificent poetry.

    Like

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