Louisiana Line

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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