The old man had a moonhead, round, pockmarked, yellowed. He sat by the fire slowly turning a poker stick, pulling it out now and then to appraise, dulleyed, the red glowing tip, a dying star. He said he hadn’t been over the levee in 14 years, since the last time he left Jackson. It was too dark to see the peculiar camps, trailers hoisted 20 feet into the thick Southern air on pine and steel scaffolds, otherworldly, high enough to ride out the flooded oxbow, but that didn’t help with the snakes. Best move y’all’s tent to the road, he drawled, river’s risin’. I lay in a cacophony of bullfrogs until sleep poured in, dark and swirly, teeming with catfish and crawdaddies.
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