SF via Clayton, Alabama

We was sharecroppers,
He said

His teeth had
Fallen from his mouth
Like seeds onto the soil
That gave birth to a
Thick knotted stubbornness
In his pit of gut

The mule I
Had was Ezza Mae

Nobody could plow
That mule but
Me

Bunions sprout from
Feet of lead
Soles stained
By smears of concrete

His black face
Defies the cold
Lights as he slowly
Walks the Polk Street
Intersection

His ashen legs
Collect the flesh
Of rivers

One block is
Like walking
100 miles

I used to be
A cook, a janitor
Too

Collard greens, hot
Water corn bread,
Pinto beans, red beans
Ham hocks

Shit, I could even
Cook Chinese food
Like i was Chinese

A mouth full of
Memories spoken
With a tongue of
Molasses lashing
Against the wind

Reach into my jacket
Pocket, he says

Go deep inside
There, hand me
My cough drops

I reach deep
For the cough
Drops

He pops one
Into his mouth

I was born in
Clayton, Alabama
He says, again

As the lemon
Flavored cough
Drop sits on his
Tongue

He speaks
Of Clayton,
Alabama

Tongue
Ablaze.

© 2017 Tony Robles

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