The John H. Bennett Prize
A dirt road passes loblolly pine,
then beneath canopied mossy oaks,
to ruins chain-mailed by oyster shells—
Old Tabby answering the call of time.
The great horned owl in his roost
might tell of cotton cropping days,
before the time of unpleasant things,
when the crumbling was home to kings.
The alligator sauntering by
might talk of slave quarter hovels,
the birth of High Cotton Elsa,
and her move to northern wealth.
Old Tabby moans when the wind is right,
mewling loud days of toil & glory;
banjo contests, fine whisky, dance,
unmarked graves beyond the dirt road.