Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

The Lunch

Lee Battles

As a lad I had a lunch I brought
to school in a paper sack
I envied those whose lunch was bought
they had the things I lacked
A piece of cheese on breakfast bread
was good but not enough
I longed for something else instead
i'd trade for other stuff
One day a trade I made with a friend
whose lunch was in a pail
All day I longed for that within
the prize he would not tell
At last the moment under trees
i peered inside the tin
While my friend was eating cheese
I searched the pail again
Two rocks and hickory nuts inside
no bread or cheese had he
For his lunch I almost cried
for him-not rich as me


Dust Devil


Dust devil swirls in cotton row
sun beating on my back
children playing with cotton bolls
I'm here dragging this sack

red dirt under my fingernails
fingertips pricked and raw
all day long to make cotton bales
oughta be against the law

sweat streaked faces of sunbaked hide
heads bowed with the weight
broken down spirit deep inside
blaming everything on fate

one of these days I'll shuck this sack
and walk right outa this field
straighten the kinks in this old back
and call for a brand new deal

give me some cards that I can play
I'll bet everything I've got
wake up every morning to a sunny day
and nevermore curse my lot

just a good hand before I die
with aces and kings and jacks
just one break and watch me try
and never ever more look back

the cards are falling right this time
the queen of hearts is mine
the cotton patch falls so far behind
I'm sipping love's sweet wine

cotton fields look so different now
all white and clean as snow
maybe this too will end somehow
I really don't want to know


Lee Battles was born and raised in Georgia and Alabama. He spent six years in the army in Louisiana, Colorado, and Germany. He writes poems about the South.

© Lee Battles

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012