National Poetry Month 2023: Day 19

Tonight I’m sharing a prose-poem by Charlie Scott, another poet whose work I really enjoy. He’s also a colleague and a friend, so it makes me doubly happy to feature his poem here tonight.


We were walking a grass road. It was up near where the Black River jack-knifes. Crisp frost under foot, powder in the breath. The Governor and his entourage came from the east, out of the sorghum stalks, bleary-eyed in the weak winter sun. They stopped, stood around in waders like trout fishermen, shotguns instead of flyrods. “Hi there son.” The Governor cocked his hand, letting me take hold. Small, soft, pearl-white, delicate web of skin fissures, the life-lines. I was introduced as the foreigner in the group, the cousin from a neighbor state. He laughed, said Governor Wallace was not a bad man, in his opinion, not as bad as those Yankee reporters made him out to be. Course, he added, wait til those danged Yankees get hold of me. My day in the sun is most surely coming. He reached into a canvas pouch, pulled up a Mourning Dove, cranium in shreds, said Here’s the First Lady. Laughter smashed the sky at every apex. Even mine. Later we watched them being plucked and gutted for the spits. It started with the neck bent back, the head popped off, then a thumb inserted beneath the sternum and pressed through the ribcage until all the organs were purple lumps. A neat little mound in the washbasin. Even the First Lady. Speared right along with five other dark-meated bodies of her brethren. Her day in the sun. We’ve all got one coming.


Charlie Scott grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama, and studied drama, poetry, and creative writing at the University of Tennessee (Chattanooga), the University of Iowa, and the University of Houston. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and journals, including THE NEW REPUBLIC, THE ANTIOCH REVIEW, GULF COAST, ZOCALO PUBLIC SQUARE, THE POETRY MISCELLANY, WESTERN HUMANITIES REVIEW, INTELLECTUAL REFUGE, THE SEQUOYAH REVIEW, and ALABAMA POETS: AN ANTHOLOGY (Livingston Press). He lives in Houston and is a founding member of Infernal Bridegroom Productions and the Catastrophic Theatre, the city’s leading avant-garde theatre company for the past 30 years.

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