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  • A Truck Driver from West Virginia
  • Afaa M. Weaver (bio)

He called himself Billy, although we knewhe had another name, him here telling ushow he hated white people, him as white

as the white people we knew but crisscrossedover in his mind by the groove Appalachia makesup and down the back of this country. His blues

were made on the backs of folk more blue thanblack folk origins of the blues, Billy so loudhe could make loud hide itself in white shame,

taking his breaks with us, waiting for his truckto be filled with what washed the dirty laundryof a country he believed did not believe in him,

tipsy drunk as he was on the days he announcedto us he was a hillbilly, like a lone wolf howling,sitting on its back legs, lost in the woods, afraid

of what to feel in a space empty of whiteness,filled with strange cruelties, this the holy spaceof who can look down at us. His arm in a cast,

Billy broke a thing harder than he was, the thingthat tried to let him own a certain kind of dignity,the cab of his rig easing out of the truck yard,

his baseball cap bouncing him back to the hills. [End Page 7]

Afaa M. Weaver

AFAA M. WEAVER has published fourteen books of poetry, most notably The Government of Nature, winner of the 2014 Kingsley Tufts Award. Also a playwright, he is a member of the core faculty in Drew University’s MFA in poetry and translation. He is a veteran of fifteen years (1970–85) as a blue-collar factory worker in his native Baltimore. His fifteenth collection of poetry, “Spirit Boxing,” is forthcoming in February 2017 from the University of Pittsburgh Press.



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