Antebellum Piece

Charles Battle

Antebellum Piece

A stroke of burnt sienna bank, curving rendezvous

of sand and Georgia clay, earthy host, symbiotic

river feeding, bleeding silt, the acreage just beyond

the hardwood frame soon to be dressed with a cotton gauze–

oil streaks eddy in the sky like encapsulated

work songs, the record of the day reverberating

still in the fat, molasses atmosphere. And somewhere

a thick ham hock macerates inside a pot of greens,

a slaughtered cow is cured, and flies buzz orbits around

the dark limbs in the trees. But there’s no color for these

diminishing details, no place within the landscape

for manmade interference. The river is the piece

to which the eye returns, its gritty surface captured

on this day devoid of boats and men, devoid of time

and the life that waits, due north of where tire canvas ends.

COPYRIGHT 2004 The Carolina Quarterly

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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