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by Crystal Wilkinson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 22, No. 3: 21c Fiction Issue

“She sat on the steps looking out into the dark woods, her face gleaming under the porch light. That look on her face as if she was remembering who she used to be.”

Black shank nearly took the tobacco crops that summer, and then a plague of grasshoppers swooped down to take the garden. I was spraying vinegar on the tomato plants to stave off the bugs while Gloria was out by the side of the house pulling weeds. We had the cd player lugged out onto the porch so John Lee Hooker could cool our insides, and we guessed later that the music was up so high that we didn’t hear no kind of warning about Oretha’s return.