Excellence from Peach Delphine
At the park people picnic
beneath cat face pines,
after a rain the shards of herty cups,
occasionally chert shaped to some cutting tool,
layers upon layers, not yet
scraped away for condos
and golf courses.
extolled the virtues of turpentine
the only medicine of her childhood,
next to whiskey, cane syrup
and red pepper pods,
if you wrapped in a flannel
doused with the stuff it might cure
a cough, or a gunshot
perhaps a snakebite.
Pawpaw showed me a catface
explained how they cut the trees
bled them out
into terra cotta cups
then into barrels, then stills,
as to what it was
Turpentine is the sweat
of men, first there were slaves, then prisoners, sold for labor.
A tree may not be
just a tree. A cut is not just a cut,
learn the purpose.
Slowly you begin…
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