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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

Louis Allen, 31 January 1964, Liberty, Mississippi


The morning train is turning like a compass needle

now the night has folded all its schedules

in the stands of pine and cedar, all its innumerable wings,

and tomorrow he will be gone from the lumber-yards

and the farmhouse windows that semaphore like televisions

and the vacant hands of Herbert Lee

and the killer and the quiet of having never seen a thing.

Quietly now, while his truck is idling,

dark decides from all the county's limbs,

shattering into birds that shatter then collapse to his skin.

Beaks lace eardrum and eardrum, his cheeks, his tongue,

their obsidians needling for what he's seen,

what he would surely tell, so he won't have to see it,

so he won't have to whisper it, even once, ever again.


Published in A Murmuration of Starlings (2008).
Text may vary slightly from the video reading.

Published: 1 April 2008
© 2008 Jake Adam York and Southern Spaces