6-15 Magnolia Nights

Decades ago while in Wilmington, lived with my cousin and no AC. Hence:


Magnolia Nights


Sweat oozes down my chest,

fills my navel,


trickles down hairy calves

into steamy sheets as I read

against a soggy pillow.


Mist chokes the air.

Cicadas whir. I can hardly bear

this sagging ceiling, dripping overhead.


Outside is the wild—

humidity drains on beaded grass;

teems of mosquitoes roar;

trees are dark sentinels in misty yards.

A blackbird sprays its song on the screen.




You can hear sweat seeping

on a glass of iced tea,

through dank walls, puddled floors,

pouring on slippery skin.


Night wrings dark drops,

drowns bed light in this muggy room.


Only a cool breeze can sop

sweat of this draining night.