Louisiana Line

By Betty Adcock b. 1938 Betty Adcock
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)

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Poet Betty Adcock b. 1938

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Pastoral


Betty Adcock is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Slantwise (LSU Press, 2008) and Intervale: New and Selected Poems (LSU, 2002), which won the Poets’ Prize and was a finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize. She has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes, the North Carolina Medal for Literature, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2002 Guggenheim Fellowship, among . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Pastoral

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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