Red clay roads

To sit across the table from an empty chair.

You can play with the salt shaker until your order is taken.

Your plate of ice cold being alone is more than you can afford.

Your ankles will itch under the table.

You silently map your way to the exit and wait for the opportunity to knock.

The cafe patrons all around you
talking quietly about things you can't decipher.

They make plans with each other and smile
and grab crotches under the table, unzipping,
licking, whispering secrets divine,
taking measurements, explaining dreams,
plucking the feathers of flight,
ordering moons over my hammy.

You unwrap the silverware and twirl the fork, knife and spoon
like tiny pieces of paper with the numbers of old lovers written on
them that you refuse to throw away...just because.

You drift back in time.

To a muggy night in Alabama lying on an age old mattress
stuffed with chicken feathers, duck feathers, soaking
up the sweat that pours while crickets just
outside communicate the heat,
red clay roads stay open, moist and ready,
the stars above the trees pointing out the darkness,
the pond out back is filled with sleeping catfish and quiet reeds,
and a worn down bar of soap, homemade with pig lard and lye
collects moonlight in the

kitchen window as you sleep.


Raymond Mitchell Strickland Jr.
10:01 pm

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