blackbirdonline journalFall 2009  Vol. 8  No. 2
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Shot has plowed up a war buckle and announced
he’ll heave in a heap of Rebel treasure and buy
us a big Christmas, then some Germans to work
the dairy. Arrowpoints we’ve had here aplenty
from the mound builders who roamed the woods,
and I read some of their gods were birds—owls
and wrens and the like—but they shot them still.
We’re a dangerous lot when we stalk the sacred.
One can nearabout imagine praying to the red-crest
log cock called pileated, but generally the redskins
sound demented in their legends. Shot, however,
is a wholly modern man, ready to profit from war
and all of Sherman’s mischief. The civic minded
say all the land hereabouts is bloody, therefore
sacred. Milledgeville was, after all, the old-time
Georgia capital. Dementia persists. Regina
and I just last summer saw “The Wind” in Macon.
It seems some theater has always got it going,
as if the state can’t operate without the Margaret
Mitchell spell holding us crackers in thrall,
though not us only, as Yankee tourist coveys
desperately seeking Clark Gable and a petting
zoo of “pickininnies” troll the roads, seeing Tara
on every bend. By the railroad depot I have spied
a pair with their mine detectors floating over
trash and grass, their skulls clamped in a bomber
pilot’s headphones, grinning scarlet faces akin
to somebody in a hammerlock. Canteens, slugs,
war buttons, or Vivian Leigh’s barrette—they want
what Shot wants, to touch a phantom and be
lifted, then famous, then rich. I harbor higher
aspirations; I want the moon, so I drag on out
to the coop, shoo the hens and ransack amid
dark straw. I’ll pick my own artifacts, eggs
white and smooth and cool as the lunar rock
in a child’s mind and ready to render the sun.
As to the Rebel-besmitten, they do bring cash
to this sleepy place, and if they have infected
Shot, I’m sure God can forgive even that.
I will need him to mow and repair the pen
where a fox or some other nightwalker has
gnawed the wire, but one more idle hour
won’t run us to ruin, and it makes him smile.
Let him dig. Whatever loosens up the soil
will ease next planting, and I like to keep him
somewhat wore out and dis-mischiefed himself.
He’s over there swinging the pick like a miner.
Now a blue tourist coupe has paused to gawk:
belle-like, our peacock unfurls the oriflamme
of his July feathers and screams. Like hunters
ready to spear a bird god, they point and wave.
Whether at the bird or me (both equal items
in the show), I’d be hard-pressed to say,
and I can cut the fool as well as any native:
“Don’t know nothing about birthing no babies.”
“I’ll never be hungry again.” It’s all a sham—
the cavaliers and honor of dear Dixie’s legacy.
Fiddle-dee-dee? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give. . . .  end

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