It’s what you can’t see in Alabama,
a kid’s soccer ball hidden in the shed,
someone’s mama behind a curtain
waiting for sundown to go outside.
I hear the pickers fled the state,
fields red with broken tomatoes.
No cook to fry a taco — the white man
boarded up Rico’s Cantina.
After the preacher went, leaving
the Iglesias locked, thieves
stole a silver chalice, baffling police.
All the usual suspects had vanished.
One matinee features a civil rights
movie. When it goes dark at the end,
no one, white or not, leaves their seats.
No one wants to face the light.
Peiter Neil Carroll is the author of a new collection of poetry, A Child Turns Back to Wave: Poetry of Lost Places, which won the 2012 Prize Americana from the Institute for American Popular Culture and was published last year, as well as Riverborne: A Mississippi Requiem (2008). His poems have appeared recently in Sand Hill Review, PoetryBay, American Atheneum, Written Rivers: A Journal of Eco-Poetics, Long Island Quarterly and New Mexico Poetry Review.