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autumn/winter 2018

Mockingbird on the Delta

by Shirley Jones-Luke


A Mockingbird sings the blues

on the banks of the Delta,

the loneliest river which flows

to the bird’s tune, lyrics scrawled

on scraps of drift wood,

tall grasses bob their leafy

arms to the beat as crickets play,

their legs like violins, frogs rib-bit

to the rhythm, splashing from logs

on cue, nature’s jam session in full effect


The Nile of the South, the Mississippi River

turns over the rich Natchez soil, brown earth

mixed with black blood from centuries of

toil, freedom still feels new here, as older

folks remember the brutal past as if it

were yesterday, the Mockingbird’s song

is the same, sung since the first slave shifts

came into port & chains rattled in unison

with the tune 


I plucked a Magnolia from an abandoned garden,

its scent caressed my nose, I inhaled deeply, thinking

about what has been & what might be, possibility is

a roulette wheel forever spinning on a steamboat,

as the Mockingbird watches it glide away in the noonday sun

 Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and a writer. Ms. Luke lives in Boston, Mass. She has an MFA from Emerson College.

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