The horse's staccato clip clops
mesmerize tourists rummaging
through South Carolina shirts and shells
near the old slave market.
Now as then everything has
a price except the salt water
air carrying a strong scent
from journeys across the ocean.
I watch a black woman out front
carefully weaving each basket
strand. Her eyes spill over with old
tales like ancient live oaks
that whisper old lovers' secrets
to women rocking in cane
bottom chairs studying the gestures
of marsh grass. She hums a song
from past rituals. The music surges
through basket fibers; her lips twist
into a smile still surviving
humid nights in sweltering shacks.
When I buy a sweet grass basket perhaps
she senses I'm a leaf blown
off the family tree. But her smile
conveys some kind of connection
I walk through the
unfolding streets and hum an ancient
song to the rhythm of iambic gallops.
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