Written by   Joni Caggiano


Arising from the loamy soil and red clay emits the realm of cotton and tobacco.  Their breaths are a land of drudgery where drops of scarlet seep from hands that pick the whites of her thorny eyes.  Growing in fields of lost magnolias and gardenias adrift, where scentless trees play jazz for fairies and whippoorwills.  

Aromas of flour bread a cooking and pickled pigs feet served up with a side of salt pork.  Shelling peas on the swing with my auntie. Sniffing fresh sheets as lively winds blow linens on a clothesline, bringing them life with hearsays.

Handing tobacco to the looper at five was to be my big surprise.  Come evening time; cicadas flex muscles buckling one rib at a time.  My new uncle stuck his finger in my private place that night.  Mammoth hands are ignoring my piteous pleas.  Like a fledgling in the sunrise, my eyelids pull on swollen lids.  Silent whimpers laying to rest.

I made fifty cents an hour that next morning.  It seemed like a high price to pay.  It was a while till I went fishing in the pond where mermaids and water moccasin found a way to play.


Text ©   Joni Caggiano




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