South 55

by Daniel Crocker

South 55

It's like it always is

everything looks the same

especially in Arkansas

She said she'd follow me to

hell, but through this land

where everything is yellow

This is mud

This is dead country

This is a wife pregnant with spiders

You call and

ask where I'm at


I once laid a red headed

bartender at the Peabody

but I don't tell you that

It was good

Coming from Nashville

you want to meet at

such and such an exit

and like always

I do

You touch my hand

at the Waffle House

before handing me

my ticket

your mouth is dry

a crushed diamond

I know your skin

the spiral of

freckles on your left shoulder

If it killed me

I didn't notice

You want me to follow you home

but I'm not going home

I can see you smiling

in mirrored glasses

several states behind me

If I can't think of

anything pretty to say

about it

I'm sorry

and two days later

we're lying in bed

me and Mississippi

too afraid to touch

we open the window

watch the thunder storm

until the whole damn state

falls asleep

I listen to the breathing


your breathing

the awning outside

looks like a bear

in the dark

If it killed

I've always been

a miracle at forgetting

even in this dark country

even in this year of cancer

even with all of this

I come back, Mississippi.