A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Feel free to look him up. You won’t find much:
b. 12 February 1900. d. April 1980.
last known residence: West Blocton, Bibb County, Alabama 35184.
What you won’t find, at least without some digging:
that his brother reported him missing when he didn’t show for their
that a search warrant was granted after official letters went unanswered,
that investigators searched the house, but found nothing suspicious
until one cop stomped out a cigarette next to the back porch
and noticed a piece of a black plastic sticking out of the dirt.
He died at 80 of natural causes,
but rather than call the coroner,
his wife decided to bury him herself.
She was worried that authorities
would ask about the bullet wound
from when she’d had to shoot him in the leg
because he was casting a spell
to keep her from breathing.
But that was years ago. And he was so heavy
she couldn’t move his body all at once
so she divided him into manageable portions,
parceled him out into trash bags
interred him a little at a time.
In the yard they uncovered a dozen buried bags
and every bone in Cad’s body, save the toes.
Back in the lab they pieced him together, all 6-feet-3 of him,
his vertebrae calcified, fused so strong he could lift a Volkswagen.
And when they pulled the nylon socks out of his still-shiny shoes,
the last of his bones rattled inside.
Copyright 2021 Jessica Temple. From Daughters of Bone (Madville, 2021). Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author and Madville Publishing.
Jessica Temple grew up in Alabama and teaches at Alabama A&M University.