There was a dance at the black school.
In the shot houses people were busy.
A woman washed her boy in a basin, sucking
a cube of ice to get the cool.
The sun drove a man in the ground like a stake.
Before his short breath climbed the kitchen's steps
She skipped down the walk in a clean dress.
Bad meat on the counter. In the sky, broken glass.
When the local hit the trestle everything trembled —
The trees she blew out of, the shiver owl,
Lights next door — With her fast eye
She could see Floyd Little
Changing his shirt for the umpteenth time.
This poem also appears at Modern American Poetry