River of Salvation – by Mark A. Hutton
Winner of the 2017 Mockingbird Prize for Poetry
August’s beams blazed dawn to dusk, and bent us low.
We’d walk from barn to field, stoop and cut,
plunge wooden spears into thick, green stalks,
down one tobacco row, up the next.
We’d rise, choir-like, dazed by sweat, heat,
And stare at Mossy Creek as it snaked the field,
called like a Siren. We longed for Lazarus to dip his finger,
and touch our tongues. Overcome, we’d slide down the bank,
slip past cattails and sink into her bracing current.
Once we found a melon among the reeds, plump and green.
Church folk used the river to baptize each other in Jesus’ name,
and to keep their melons cold.