Best of the Net 2008  

Deep, Like Blood

Sundays, Broward Haynes staggered
In the Piggly Wiggly, bought a bottle
Of orange juice, sat on a parking stop
In the afternoon fade. Said he was 39,
A Christian man, could drink
Any of us boys under the pulpit,
With communion wine or Schlitz,
Showed us two fingers he said he split
When he built Hathaway Bridge over
St. Andrews Bay, where he dropped
Quarters just to see them twirl & shine
In salted moonlight. Broward Haynes
Said God held a key & a dust tray just
The other side of the sky, said Jesus
Talked to him as he slept. What’s he say,

Broward? Says this world’s as tired as I am,
& half as fucked up. Said he was half-
Cherokee, half-Scot, an Appalachian
Hill-stomper who wound up in North Florida
Cause shit obeys the laws of gravity, gents,
Flows down, settles in a cesspool—you call

That an ocean? He flicked a burned butt
At the Gulf of Mexico, breathed last night’s
Thunderbird & Old Crow. He looked up:
Ain’t nothing but a toilet bowl God’s waiting
To flush. Read the Book, gents, it’ll tell you all.

We filched him Kools, slid him snack cakes
From damaged boxes of Little Debbies,
Traded shifts talking with him & bagging
Groceries as the sun went down. One night,
He said the sky reminded him of blood.
But Broward, we said, the sky’s blue; blood’s red.
A steel-wool beard scoured his jaw, made
His mouth seem like the drain at the center
Of a butcher’s market. It ain’t the color he said.

-Jeff Newberry (Memorious)