CHRISTINE L. REED

 

Dead Blues

Delta dew on mucked down
swamp fronds, the hum of olive
bull frogs and the thick metal
scent of a burned roux. She called
from death with the voice
of a cow stuck in quicksand.

Annie yelled voodoo so loud
and thick when she breathed,
the coyote screams barely cut through,
but she kept the food coming
on the scratched plates...
tourists bought talismans of toe-nails
and craw shells, cups
of red gumbo.

Two oars in the water and a skull
full of sweat and worry, off
to hear the old banjo men pray out loud.
The old healer lay down
in the depths with the tossed babies
and white chickens turn
slit red to rise her up.

Just one more dirge, then they start
to look at old Sue,
not quite as ugly
but she smells bad enough,
yes indeedy.