Southern Sprawl

Bullets flew into the storm
of cannon, smoke and shell,
dry grass popped and cracked that night,
a field of death and hell.
Warmth had left and what remained,
grew cold and stiff and still.
It did not hurt that death had won,
it's darkness left no chill.
I heard the cries of wounded men
and smelled the flesh that burned.
I heard the shovels digging dirt
but no one has returned.

One day I heard the squeal of pigs,
felt them push against my bones;
sweaty mules strained in harness,
moving rocks and splitting stones.
Often they would snort while plowing,
walking over where I lay;
mule and man, never knowing,
plowing ground that covers gray.

Though blood has seeped out long ago
and bones be scattered all around;
I yearn to have my loved ones close,
to lie beside them in the ground.
But, now I hear a strange, new noise,
smell another kind of smoke;
I feel the dirt around me move,
pull bits of cloth from tattered cloak.
I strain to hear what's being said,
above the noise of their machines;
I fear no one will come for me
and wonder what a Wal-mart means?


Copyright © Linda Lee.
Reprinted by permission.