EARLY WORKED ON his father’s crawfish farm down the road. On Saturdays, he would stand over the tanks and write poems on an old piece of tar cloth as his father threw seed and sipped sour mash. He was a serious boy with a ruddy complexion and an oily patch of ennui that spread glumly across his nose and chin. After work, we’d go down to his ancestral swamp and shoot pygmy snakes as he lifted my skirt high above my waist. The chickens would follow us, going after Early’s fishy scent. His older brother Vern would trail us as well, sit still behind the tall ferns and watch us all afternoon but somehow Early never cared.
Breaking Point: Early reciting his poems on open mic night at Cocotte, dead drunk on spiked brown bitters.