I don’t know a soul here except Steve
the motel clerk, who thinks he knows
me, thinks I could skidaddle out of here
and love the Ground Zero Blues Club
in Clarksdale. I visit the town Sumner,
where Emmett Till went to trial and went
to the Tallahatchie to touch the Mississippi
mud and grass on the black side of the river.
Trees grow in the middle of the river,
they stand in muck, salute the west east
north south, their roots above ground
exposed eternally. Everything here is
as hard as land.
Delta crops shine in the sun down
Route 61. Churches come out
of nowhere, each one windowless
manicured, a box of god.
I’m listening to blues on the radio,
a chaingang in her voice, Gospel pain,
savior pain and the three backup singers
as strong as conviction.