Rachel Nix


From the edge of the Tennessee River
on the Muscle Shoal's side, we lean
into the humidity sitting atop those still waters.

The sunset hits the old railroad bridge
with all intent to steal the glory of the city
and succeeds,
rallying with it the headlights
from cars headed into the humming.

By evening's latter end,
folky new south singers and blues bellowers
have not only taken the city back,
but have stolen the light.

Second Street

I grew tired of his insinuations; I knew he had me
marked for his nightly stop. Before he even had the gall
to push himself against the side of my car, like the others,
and talk down to me as if I had something to hide,
I pushed back. I called his bluff, saying:

Let me blow your stick.
It’s the quickest way to get you off
my back. I want to go home.

Instead, he had me get out of my car,
walk a straight line with my arms out to my sides, stiff
as airplane wings. He had me hold my left foot
six inches above the pavement while I counted
more Mississippis than were needed.

He asked me where I’d been, why I’d been there.
I told him each time it was none
of his business, though he knew.
Positive he’d been waiting for me to leave,
I suspected his blue lights to flick on
as I passed by his parked car. Sheffield cops
were always trying to catch me leaving the bar,
sure they’d catch me drunk at least once.
They profiled me, assumed my old Beretta
was reason enough to stop me. Assumed
because I’m a woman I’d be afraid
or maybe aroused by the way
they gripped their belts
while staring me down.
I played along at times – polite for the sake
of it all – but eventually learned:
they don’t know what to do with a woman
who doesn’t cower down to authority.

Rachel Nix is a native of Northwest Alabama, where pine trees outnumber people and she likes it. She is the Poetry Editor at cahoodaloodaling and Associate Editor at Pankhearst; her work has recently appeared in Rust + Moth, Picaroon Poetry, and Words Dance.

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