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Farren Stanley

The Thing to Do in Tuscaloosa Is



Dream about walking back and forth   

across the tracks twice a day.   


The cautionary arm   


lifting and lowering. The  

              bells in sunlight  


There is dumping a can   

of creamed corn into   

water to excite the fish, then   

baiting your hooks with corn.  



The stars are verbs               in the waters that watch them  


There is dipping, where too little will make 

you swallowgag and vomit. Where more 

is preferable. The man at the party 

demonstrates the right pinch and folding 

it under the lip. There are slivers of glass 

in dip, meant to slice open the  gums so 

the tobacco gets in faster. He says it is like 

a hundred cigarettes. You will,   

he says, drool.   


There is fishing  



the moon making little flowers in it,               names with long vowels.   


There is quitting   



There is something called noodling in which 

you let a catfish slide its cold mouth   

over your knuckles and grab.   


There is swimming   

and there are snakes.   


The magnolias will insist that they are also moons, if your definition is something bright  

            and gravitating. 

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