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If You Still Like Hank


by Jesse Peters

I feel cold today.

I want to drive
across the South
with you again,
the sun baking us
in our old black Chevy,
listening to that Hank
Williams cassette we wore out.

The warped, dragging sound
funny at first, but
eventually gone, leaving
only a blank
tape with the label
rubbed off.

The cotton is blooming
around Oxford and the
peach trees glowing pink.

We can eat boiled crawfish
in New Orleans, sucking
the heads like Cajuns and
tourists do.
We can drink bourbon
on the levee, listening
to Big Daddy Kinsey’s blues
coming from the club below.

Or let’s park on the
beach in Pensacola and
sleep in the back of
the Chevy, sweating as
the waves beat us to sleep.

Let’s eat a breakfast of
dry cereal and Coke on
the banks of the Chattooga,
watching the sun rise
from behind the steaming
Carolina mountains.

But not today

I wonder how you
spend your time,
if you still like Hank,
if you still have that
green flannel shirt.

I feel cold today—

The old black Chevy
is up on blocks, and
I know my sun is in
someone else’s sky.

Jesse Peters is a professor of English at University of North Carolina at Pembroke and grew up on a farm in rural, Southern Georgia. His work has appeared in The Lullwater Review, Zone 3, The Denver Quarterly and Pembroke Magazine. About his subjects, Peters says: “I think those of us who rise up out of that Southern dust see the world in a particular way; maybe some of that vision comes through in my work.”

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