Father, you grieve me so as you go into the dark unknown afterlife.
Left me here, Sister and Mother but never your Daughter, though.
Elegiac couplet, you and I, meant for a prescribed path to walk these fields of cotton,
my five to your six.
How did we become instead the proscribed outlaw couple?
These high cotton fibers make into such strong thread,
mercerized, woven into ties that bind.
In us, they came unwound.
Strong lye, watered down with lies, leaves me with no affinity for lovely dyes.
Pallid, ashen, you and I, and the cotton.
I hid in the cotton, high cotton, soft cotton,
alone with my cohort of mentors.
Six hundred cicadae droning in fatherly resonance
to the beat of my heart pumping your blood, our blood.
There is power in the blood, but not your blood, our blood.
Weak scarlet flow, that pulses to no fatherly cadence.
Instead I heed the call of the six hundred.
Their tattoo paces the syncope of my canticle for you.
Rest you, now, as they play antiphon Funeral Dirge for the Reprobate.
Fatherless, I will lie here with a drummer I cotton to.