A visitor’s guide to old-town Apalachicola
Here we are again, at the crossroads
of good-old gut feeling and progress.
We’ve been here before. Remember
the cypress trees, fluted and mud-stained
and flagged for harvest? This is the best
place to view the bay, chocolate
restless and stirred by those same trees
and blackwater. Take the road west
and you’ll find John Wilson’s store.
Inside you’ll see relics: oyster company t-shirts
shrink-wrapped like seafood,
buckets of tupelo honey,
shrimp nets dragged up
from some godforsaken oyster bed
and still stinking of seagrass,
Zostera and Halodule.
Somewhere over your shoulder
there’s Cootie and his shopping cart
on Water Street. In better years
he hocked bibles on the corner.
Now it’s shells, mostly, gull-stripped of flesh
and put up for offerings
of change enough for coffee.
Buy some if you like, not for him
but for yourself. Don’t pretend
you don’t need it.
|Wally Smith is a biologist and poet (not necessarily in that order) living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His poems and essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines, most recently in Town Creek Poetry.