Follow the slash pine. The ditches come quick. The Congaree muck: cypress knees, maroon ghosts, saturated green.
November cotton fields. The boy Bubba, just picked clean. Starlings exploded: knotted patterns.
Study the signs.
Elvis’ preserved head is kept in the top of the Memphis Pyramid. Masons in rhinestone Nudie suits take the head out of its case.
The head’s eyes & mouth open. A prophesy: “Death to the living, long life to the killers.”
Myrtle Beach Karmic Taxidermy. Billy carving tourists’ bodies. He felt sophisticated. Hell, artistic.
A child catches tobacco moths in Mason jars. He laughs as they suffocate. Haints of pregnant sharecroppers roam the neighborhood. They eat white clay.
Each equinox, Dolly Parton demands a sacrifice from Pigeon Forge residents: an elderly bootlegger is deep-fried alive.
A YouTube video of cicadas calling in Morse code.
Catfish commute to work in old F-150s, the rear windshield shot out years before.
The basement of the Ryman in Nashville. Rusty finds Johnny Cash’s coat behind glass: BREAK IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. He smashes the glass. Spray-paints MEMENTO MORI on the black coat. Wears it as he drives down I-40. He watches Nashville burn in the rearview mirror.