Santa Clara University

Cottonlandia

A poem by Rebecca Black, who won the 2004 Juniper Prize for Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Press. Black is a lecturer in English at SCU.

Cottonlandia cover

Cottonlandia

Little wheel
something gnarls in the blood
in our Arcadia of mayflies.

We make wine from muscadines,
little wheel turning inside my heart.
In January after the crop

floats to Apalachee
other cargo arrives—old men
boot-blacked before the auction block.

Shawl of cassimere, calamus-
root, one small revolver
on offer at Muse & Co.

Little wheel turning, gossypium
grows gossypium grows
along the roads.

Cotton alone does not spin
into cloth     the bridge itself
does not burn     little wheel

turning inside my heart
what's been must be storied
grist mill     cotton gin

what's invented     inventoried

 

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