P O E T RY Margot Wizansky Cotton Baby It’s dawn in the cotton field and his mama’s singing till the high sun takes away her song. He’s a cotton baby, lying on the picking bag, dragged down the cotton rows the whole day long. Mama’s face is shining, cotton bits sticking to her sweat-slicked skin. He cries hungry till Mama sits to feed him on the cotton bag. She can’t let that foreman see her cotton baby, can’t ever let that foreman see her breasts. SUMMER 2 018 • THE MIS SOURI RE V IE W 87 The Boss’s Store not a real store anyway, unpainted walls chinked with cotton, open one day a week to buy what they can’t grow—coe ff e, cornmeal, the boss, fanning himself on a pile of feed bags, hauls himself up, opens a can of lard, scoops it out, goes behind the counter to cut tobacco with his knife and tally their debt in a dog-eared notebook, so hot a peppermint stick, cool burn, is what he wants, more than anything. What are you looking at, boy? Papa told him not to look, so he can’t say. Boss says A cross-eyed boy’s
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Jul 20, 2018
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