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Rural by Jessica Hite

dirt roads.
redder than the blood
that spilled to make them.
glistening dark skin
pressed against
rich, white cotton.

sunday picnic baskets.
the finest leisure day clothes,
black bodies drifting
in the summer breeze.

an orange rolled
every morning
by withered black hands.
a sweetness to cast off
the sour of sickness.

too many mouths;
not enough chicken
or eggs or vegetables.
only cents, instead of dollars.
the living not shared—only cropped.

anywhere but here.
pack up and head north.
where nigger is negro,
still bitter and stinging,
but manageable.

long car rides
to grandmother’s house.
ten kids to two rooms,
but we complain about six.

still dirt roads.
strange fruit has
rotted to the ground.
now bullets chase
black bodies
along with the summer breeze.