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Watermelon Festival, the Florida Panhandle
by Marsha Mathews

I was sitting on a log
after the seed-spitting contest,
munching boiled peanuts,
humming to the slap-haw of banjo

when a one-armed man
wearing checkerboard suspenders
and a safari hat
blew quivery rhythm into his harmonica.
His legs crossed, uncrossed,
crossed again,     each step
a deliberation.
His eyes looked at me.
When the beat slowed,
he stopped, arm outstretched.
He wiggled his elbow,
slow at first, then faster.
Soon his whole body
was motion.

A crowd drew around him–  
black people and rednecks
laughing together,
his stump waving us on.

First Published in Third Wednesday: A Quarterly Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Art  

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