The wooden scent of wagons,
the sweat of animals—these places
keep everything—breath of the cotton gin,
black damp floors of the icehouse.
Shadows the color of a mirror’s back
break across faces. The luck
is always bad. This light is brittle,
old pale hair kept in a letter.
The wheeze of porch swings and lopped gates
seeps from new mortar.
Wind from an axe that struck wood
a hundred years ago
lifts the thin flags of the town.
Poem copyright © 1975 by Betty Adcock. Reprinted from Walking Out, Louisiana State University Press, 1975, with permission of Betty Adcock, whose most recent book is Intervale: New and Selected Poems, Louisiana State University Press, 2001.
Source: Walking Out
(Louisiana State University Press, 1975)