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.