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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1112

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Countryside Camp

Clarence Major

Gypsy man and gypsy woman drinking tea
in the blue shadow of the wagon.
From each cup the sweet smell steaming like fog.
He's carving a stick in the shape of the knife he's using.
Sky, a cross-grained mass turning darker with
low clouds just overhead, bark and leaves underfoot.
Mid-afternoon of cotton air growing heavier and darker.
A lamp hangs from the side of the wagon.
But for now, inhale that sweet sweet smell of tea
while the horse grazes in the shade of the marigold.
The thin dog sleeps at the wife's foot. She's peeling potatoes
in the constant breeze--not in the shape of the knife she's using.
Grass gone to seed and the horse nibbles on and on
round the marigold, round and round the marigold.

Clarence Major is the author of several award-winning novels, including Such Was The Season, Painted Turtle: Woman With Guitar, Dirty Bird Blues and Reflex and Bone Structure, My Amputations, as well as stories collected in Fun & Games (1990), a new edition of poetry, Configurations: New and Selected Poems 1958-1998 (a finalist for the National Book Award in 1999), and Necessary Distance (2001). He has also edited a number of anthologies, including Calling The Wind: Twentieth Century African-American Short Stories (1993) and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry (1996). He has received numerous awards, among them a National Council on the Arts Award (1970), a Fulbright (1981-1983) and two Pushcart prizes (1976/1990). He teaches at the University of California, Davis.



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