“You Ain’t Hurryin’ Me”

On a house tour, tapping my foot to a bluegrass band,
eating fried chicken at Mackay Point Plantation. The banjo
player looks like a winter tourist in sandals, wearing sunglasses,
strumming a poem, the snow of South Dakota fallen from
his hair; the tall skinny woman playing bass, eyes squinched,
is Mrs. Vogel who taught me geometry, how triangles
might bulge in a round world, tangling me in proofs,
even here, where Robert E. Lee came away with “Traveler,”
the horse who pawed the air at Gettysburg. I’m looking
at the Pocotaglio, Tulifinny and Coosawhatchie Rivers
mixing three watery legs of a history that nothing
in the Bible would make equal in all its sides to the slave
labor that planted these allées of live oaks. That cleared
the land before the hurricanes and the boll weevil made all
of this a nowhere that bluegrass thumping fills to the brim.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
Contents | Reading Czeslaw Milosz