Listening to James “Son” Thomas Sing Delta Blues

This article originally appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 5 No. 2, "Long Journey Home: Folklife in the South." Find more from that issue here.

I think of blooming roots,

waking spiders,

bulky rusting stems;

of the digging and sorting

spring will do

if left alone.


Son Thomas singing on this

watery March night,

thick enough to fill up

warehouse doors,

fine screens built all over town

to keep out growth:


he tells us what it is

he's broken open every hour,

but not how many silver fingers

were replaced

after the ruin became too clear.