Sean Hill

Milledgeville Haibun

Beat. Beat. Beats beat here. The sound of the train on the Georgia road, the measured
claps of the wheels at the gaps of the joints of the rails is the beat of the hammer on iron
and anvil at the smithy, Sol’s shop, shaping shoes for mules and horses; and the sizzle of
red metal in water is the train’s whistle, and all echoes resound and effuse, and the last
word returns like watermelons here with summer heat, beat with a hammer, beat when
he, a boy, broke into the garden at the county jail at night when the beat men were asleep
because theirs were the sweetest, so bust one open, the dull thud just before the crack,
and eat the heart and move on to the next; and he moved on to women and settled
eventually on one and finally busted her with finality, thud before crack, and he measured
time raising the sweetest watermelons for a time and time served he returned, a man, and
he lay on the tracks of the Georgia road cradled by the rails. Heart stopped.
Old railroad, abandoned—
between crossties trees grow,
a feral pig roots below branches.

Sean Hill
“Milledgeville Haibun” appears in Blood Ties & Brown Liquor (University of Georgia Press, 2008).