Monday, January 6, 2014

Floyd and Lucille Burroughs on Porch, Hale County, Alabama, 1936

(Walker Evans and James Agee)

Walker came up to them while I was looking around back for signs of life there and found
two boys playing keep-away with a third, who was bawling and snuffling and yelling,
wanting back what was his, the body of an owl whose feathers clung fast during the melee.
He was the son of Floyd and Allie Mae, who cropped for shares. And Charles worked too.
Walker took a picture of the father and daughter. Someday she would get to be a mother.
Her first girl might be as clear eyed and pleasant looking as she was, even when she took
a notion to stare at the camera Indians feared would catch their shadows, steal their souls.

I came around from back of the house to tell them I’d like to talk with them. Walker said
we had to go because we hadn’t lined up a place to stay and we were hungry. Floyd told
Lucille to ask her mother if there was enough. Allie Mae came out, drying slender hands,
saying, We’re just having black-eyed peas and hog jowl with biscuits and butter I churned.
Floyd and I were talking and Walker occasionally offered his view of the cotton tenant life.
Allie Mae fed us and put us up for the night. Walker, older then me, went to sleep first.
All night I wrote by a kerosene lamp, imagining what it might be like to be them inside.

(5-6 January 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

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