Louisiana Line

The wooden scent of wagons,
the sweat of animals — these places
keep everything — breath of the cotton gin,
black damp floors of the icehouse.

Shadows the color of a mirror’ s back
break across faces. The luck
is always bad. This light is brittle,
old pale hair kept in a letter.
The wheeze of porch swings and lopped gates
seeps from new mortar.

Wind from an axe that struck wood
a hundred years ago
lifts the thin flags of the town.