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Tube Rose

In spats and monocle Mr. Goober danced
across the blue tin of a Planter's peanut can.
Aunt Emma's rocker kept a cradle's cadence
while the radio evangelist ranted,

"Repent your sins or pay the fiery price."
This was rural Georgia, the Fifties, a "swine
farm" with acres of snakes and corn.
Her voice would waver: "Silver pins and golden

needles will not mend this heart of mine."
She'd spit a golden ambeer into the cess
of her silver-rimmed can and never missed
while Ike was in the White House.

Snuff was cheap,"safe," but the top hat and cane
of the jigging peanut man said "undertaker"
to any Spaulding County child. "The Rapture
is close at hand," the media preacher crooned.

"If your snuff's too strong it's wrong,
get Tube Rose, mild Tube Rose,"Aunt Em cooed
to mourning birds courting beyond her song.
A dew of filthy honey on her lip eclipsed

the waning moon. Was such a habit a sin?
She spat and laughed and spoke again
like a devotee of fireflies and summer
love with her lonesome voice that never

made any bashful suitor dance or
lured from cover a single country dove.

R. T. Smith

Five Points

Vol. 18, No. 2

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