Greg Stidham

New Epileptic

Stooping now

to retrieve a dropped pen

then standing again,

an act so ordinary

the brief passing

vertigo once

unnoticed now

triggers thoughts

of unruly neurons

plotting their next


the next slapstick

they'll direct

at my expense,

my pride,

perhaps even

my breath.

Mississippi Delta

Endless expanses of fields of cotton, rice and soy

stretch from the river to the horizon

where the crops touch the blaze of setting sun.

It is said the delta meanders from the lobby

of the Peabody hotel in Memphis,

to Catfish Row in Vicksburg,

the rich black soil giving off its river smell,

guitar picking instead of cotton picking,

the voices of the blues still seeping out the walls

of juke joints in Clarksdale, Batesville and

Helena. The blues born here a century ago,

where the fields flooded every spring,

and white-hooded cross-burning lynchers roamed

until just decades ago: this land remains alive,

like the catfish wallowing in the river's mud.