Sean Hill

Nigger Street 1937

McIntosh Street the sign reads
like the apple red but not
red delicious red but red
like redeye gravy on grits
at Gus’s or red like stoplights
but they’re also green and yellow
like apples in Allen’s Market
on the corner and red like
those powders and syrups kept
behind the counter at Doc’s
pharmacy and red like
stoked coals or embers red
in Sol’s forge red and red like
the stripe on Richard’s barberpole
and the stitching around buttonholes
of overalls of those coming
to town on Saturdays and red
like the three ball solid red
in the side pocket at the Blue Moon
and red like the eyes of those
late-staying patrons early
in country churches on Sunday
mornings and in church the red
of the edge of white pages
in a black bound bible
coming together closing red
as the congregation rises.

Sean Hill

"Nigger Street 1937" appears in Blood Ties & Brown Liquor (University of Georgia Press, 2008).

First posted on May 17, 2009 10:18 AM