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page 61 Tom Page Black Magnolias Over beer in the local tavern, a fisherman tells me ofthe courthouse magnolias: in the late forties two black men were hanged from them. After the men were cut down, gasoline was poured over their bodies and they were burned in the street in front of Safeway. They must have burned like men always burn when gasoline is poured over them. I calculate the distance to the state line. Along the coast wild palms hold a phosphorescence of August light reflecting offthe sand. Further west, toward Mobile, magnolia leaves blacken, screening the sun, glowing on the sea. ...


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