Smoking Pot at Armuchee Creek

by David King

I tell myself I will not do it.
Behind me, in the quiet of the backseat,
My friends unruffle the bills
They have brought to make a deal.
Outside Adairsville, the road lunges
Deep into the woods of foothills.
On the bridge across the creek,
I cut the headlights,
Glide over water, make the turn
Into the gravel drive of the shack.
From inside the house,
A tape player stops like a shortened breath.
A tree frog barks along the creek bank.
The porch light blinks on and off like an eye.
A man I do not know opens the door.
We step into incense and candles,
Walk over bodies under blankets on the floor.

Later at the creek we strip to the waist.
In water meant for snakes and eels,
I take my first reluctant drag, go numb.
I mean to think of home, of parents or the pastor,
Instead I smoke again and imagine
I am one with the fog at Armuchee,
Young with flame at my fingertips.

Then I am tired, and cold,
And the back of my throat burns
Like the mouth of the moccasin moving
Toward me in the creek, both of us
Loaded on poison and wasted by sin. 

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