THE MOCCASINS OF 1952
At least I called them moccasins − water
Moccasins – I’d go down into the pit –
Under the gradin-room – hole – its ladder
Shackly, rickety, shaky – me, too − it
Was where we “ordered” tobacco – loiter?
No way for a boy fourteen and unfit
To assimilate the snakes on tier-poles
Which held cured tobacco Mama would spray.
The brittle leaves came in order; their souls
Would appear, right before my eyes; I’d pray
In dim dark one-bulb-dom down there to bold
Heavens not to lay my hand on the cold
Back of any crooked, muscularly flesh,
My heart bumping for the light above – yes!
Short bio: Shelby Stephenson's The Hunger of Freedom (2014) is available from Red Dashboard at www.reddashboard.com