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Jim Ingram

Honorable Mention 2009 Novice Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Christian Poet:
I am a graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida with a B.A in Mass Communications (1983) and an M.A. in English Education (1993). I studied film, theater, journalism, and teaching before embarking on a career in non-profit management. I currently live in Tampa, Florida and am employed as the Director of Finance and Administration for the Alliance for Innovation. I have been married for 14 years to my wife Charlene and have three beautiful boys: Alex, Tyler, and Austin. Most importantly, I committed my life to Christ on January 19, 1983.

About this Poem:
While growing up in the 1960s, our family made several trips to visit my grandparents who lived around the cotton fields of one of the poorest regions in the U.S., Tunica, Mississippi. I was a middle-class child in a strange land surrounded by new sights and senses which challenged the development of my emotional and spiritual maturity.

Awakening in Tunica, Mississippi

The rooster crows;
Its early muggy morning
cackle alarms me.
Magnolia leaves sway,
shadowing across my sheets
like a silent specter
remaining from the night.
Heavy eyed, I tumble out
of the soft cotton,
baby soft feet landing
on the hard oak floor.

Big Daddy is up already,
looming large through the doorway,
drinking ice tea from a large mason jar,
sliding hard down his quivering rooster throat
sagging beneath his chin.
Blue veins run through his strange
monster skin.
The rooster crows again.

The thick quiet morning air
yields to a cricket band:
tribal rhythms hidden in the
snake-filled weeds.
Bare footing across
the hard red clay colored
gravel road,
a small wooden shack appears
by its side.
Our sun glistens off the spider web cracks
of its old glass windows
framed in rotting cypress.
A little boy, darkened beneath
the porch’s shadow,
laughs with shining white teeth,
like a hungry gremlin,
calling out
in a broken voice,
“Do ya want ta play with me?”
I freeze in silence
like a white stone.

The rooster crows.

Copyright ©2009 by Jim Ingram