After losing the 1958 Alabama Democratic gubernatorial
Primary, Wallace is said to have disappeared for a month,
Returning to declare that he’d “never be out-niggered again.”
No guitar. Just the one, quivering string.
Abnegated gut begun to hate itself.
The throat’s weary chords, his hands.
I enter by whiskey, set to
work, retune the flesh.
My favorite music rises.
Everything I touch holds the song
already. The fallen star’s
swallowed question. Hot night wind.
This body’s never quiet.
It sings like a fire.
As he walks off, toward Montgomery,
They fall again. The whole state
burns in the light.
Photo by Oli R