A Moment at Night

It’s dark when I get home.
The sun set long since.
I open the door and rise from the car…

I’m held by this night.

For a little while
I just stand.

The wind hisses through the dying leaves.
It sounds like the pages of a thousand books turning,
Like sleet sheeting against glass.

Leaves scurry across the drive
To and fro in the changing wind,
Like ghosts late for appointments.

The sky is so black it almost swallows the stars.
But,
If you stare long enough they stare crystal stares back at you.

It’s cold enough to feel the edge of it.
Not so cold as to drive me in.

I just stand
For a little while.

Why do I stand?
Why am I held?

The wind hisses in my ears.
Like a stranger whispering secrets that I can’t quite hear.

Leaves brush past,
Sometimes brushing my skin,
In transition from sky to earth.

This is the season of changes.
The edge of the fall.
The cusp of the long sleep.

The world holds still

And I stand

For a little while.

Man of the South

I am of the South.

Rooted in the rich dark soil,
The hard clays,
The deep swamps,
The pluff mud,
And sandy shores,
And the hard granite of high mountains,

Like the tobacco and cotton,
The sweet onion and low country tomato,
The rice, indigo and sorghum of present and past.

Birthed and raised in the warm, heavy air,

Redolent of azalea and magnolia,
Pork barbeque and Beaufort stew, and sweet tea,

Respired by my Grandfolk and their Grandfolk before.

What is the South?

Land?

Place?

It’s memories,

Stories,

Tales and histories.

It’s sweat and blood,
Tragic sorrow
and simple joys.
It’s homes and businesses and parks and secret fishing holes,
New built cities,
And near-forgotten towns.

It’s the memories of all of those.
The dreams of all those to come.

It’s the weight of us pressing on the skin of the world.

It’s the tale told that tells us who we are.

This is me,

Man of the South.