BLACK MARKS

 

Maynard couldn't read.

His first grade teacher noted he'd be

a dirt farmer like his father, and every year,

another teacher just moved him on through.

Maynard graduated.

 

Consolidation closed the school. Paint peeled,

mortar gave way on comer bricks, and covered

walkways sagged. Finally, it sold,

served seven years as a shirt factory,

then burned, except for the gym built in the

mid-fifties at the back of the ball-field.

 

A billboard, saying simply MAYNARDíS, towers

where the Seven Springs School sign once stood.

An arrow points toward the gym.

On 95.1 on your dial, Maynard's tells

of the stars, the live bands, and the largest

hardwood dance floor in North Carolina.

 

Maynard sports cowboy boots on his floor.

This sacred floor where, his teachers stressed,

he was blessed to be allowed to play on

one day a week in off season.

This glorified floor where,

because he didn't have sneakers,

he was forced to walk outside

the black lines of outer bounds to get

to the bleachers to remove his shoes,

so he'd leave no black marks on the floor.

 

Nancy King