Published online with The Courtship of Winds, 2020

Cotton sometimes doesn’t feel like cotton
against the bareness of your skin
that conjoining of water balloons
slopping against some scratchy inch.

Cotton sometimes feels like dying
or the things that have already been dead
like a dog that wandered too far off,
thirst radiating from that summer-soaked coat.
The dog’s bones sank into the dry earth
into the sea of cackling cotton plants,
their stalks not bothered to bend
to look down
to feel remorse.

Cotton sometimes feels like, no, tastes like
the grainy salt, the taste of sweat,
the flesh that hangs itself up in the air too long
the deluge of work and tears and nine hours trudging
from dry knuckle to dry knuckle
working on some wizened loom
or a hand-me-down machine
of stitch-this and stitch-that
of needle dance
or tired eyes
or hollow hopes for going home.

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