by Dan Jacoby

saying in the south
want two baptist churches
build the first
wait for the break a way

south has strong ties
to church and property
not carpetbagger greed for land
but for what makes a home

a sick sister in eufaula
solace of a catfish pond
using hot dogs for bait
bobbers leaving few ripples

sweet tea is civilized
baskets of fried oysters
sweet potato rounds
sawmill gravy and quaker plain

a fierceness and independence
exists in the southern tradition of storytelling
roots both celtic and african
that appreciates beauty without possessing it

a table at radley’s in monroeville
or one at stockton at the stage coach café
bread crumbed fish fried lightly
like being in high cotton

played in woods as a child
no real respect for rules
except set by high school english teacher
like a creek indian journey proud

feeding quarters into the machines
at the excel laundromat
working weight off
from melvin’s barbeque on cherry street

best days in memory
always linger with a sound, a scent
feeding ducks in late afternoon
occurrence of mockingbird in nelle lee’s yard

change has come at a cost
shop’s owner calling you by name
at darby’s red and white
lost interactions of a general store

in burnt corn, finchburg, and scratch ankle
where it’s correct to say “cheese grits is”
like the two hundred year old oak in uriah
scout still listens to atticus on the front porch swing

Dan Jacoby lives in Illinois on a very old family farm. He is a former student, special forces soldier, spy, steel worker, teacher, coach, mentor and principal. He is also a Civil War history nut, having had family members who fought on both sides. He traveled extensively in the South while in military service and was stationed at Ft. Bragg, Ft. Benning and Ft. Smith. Read his previous poems in Deep South here

Cut Magnolias
Easter, 1979