toby james

lived in a
leaning shack
down by
the muddy

he'd sit
with his back
a big oak
stone jug
of shine
at his side

he'd pass
it over with
a grin
then take it
back always
wipe the
top with
a circle of
dirty palm
before hitting
it himself

double run
white mule
that would
proof 150
at least

mellow corn
cooked on a
worm down on
cane creek
where the water
flowed cool
from springs
perking the
mcnairy sands
and the law
feared to

toby had pulled
18 years of
hard time
6 for cookin
corn & 12
for killing a
man with a
double bit axe
when he caught
the swamper
screwing his
12 year old

killin a man
is the easiest
thang in the
world toby said
if you gotta
don't take
nothin to
take a life
it's easier'n
killin a hog
and half
as bloody

they found toby
face down one
sunday hung
in snags
along the bank
drowned dead
figured it was
murder cause
his crock was
in the
shack and

the sheriff
knew toby
never wandered
that far
from his

but an old
dead drowned
Ex-con ain't worth
much effort
so they
buried him
on the county
side at the
church yard
and forgot

or tried