Deep, Like Blood
Sundays, Broward Haynes staggered
In the Piggly Wiggly, bought a bottle 
Of orange juice, sat on a parking stop 
In the afternoon fade.  Said he was 39, 
A Christian man, could drink 
Any of us boys under the pulpit, 
With communion wine or Schlitz, 
Showed us two fingers he said he split 
When he built Hathaway Bridge over 
St. Andrews Bay, where he dropped 
Quarters just to see them twirl & shine 
In salted moonlight. Broward Haynes 
Said God held a key & a dust tray just 
The other side of the sky, said Jesus 
Talked to him as he slept.  What’s he say, 
Broward? Says this world’s as tired as I am,
& half as fucked up.  Said he was half-
Cherokee, half-Scot, an Appalachian
Hill-stomper who wound up in North Florida 
Cause shit obeys the laws of gravity, gents, 
Flows down, settles in a cesspool—you call 
That an ocean?  He flicked a burned butt 
At the Gulf of Mexico, breathed last night’s 
Thunderbird & Old Crow.  He looked up: 
Ain’t nothing but a toilet bowl God’s waiting 
To flush. Read the Book, gents, it’ll tell you all.  
We filched him Kools, slid him snack cakes 
From damaged boxes of Little Debbies, 
Traded shifts talking with him & bagging 
Groceries as the sun went down.  One night,
He said the sky reminded him of blood.
But Broward, we said, the sky’s blue; blood’s red.  
A steel-wool beard scoured his jaw, made 
His mouth seem like the drain at the center 
Of a butcher’s market.  It ain’t the color he said.
Copyright © 2004–2017 Memorious