Tobacco Harvest, North Carolina – Gill McEvoy

Tobacco Harvest, North Carolina

All afternoon we laboured bunching leaves.
Black ooze glued our fingers to our thighs
each time we wiped our hands off on our jeans.

‘Tobacco cu’in’ sheds’, the foreman flung
the barn-doors open to a brimstone stink
of bunches hung in twos, like pairs of lungs.

The bright greens slowly grieve their way to rust.
‘Killin’ sheds’ I muttered to myself,
examining my hands – thick tar and dust.


Gill McEvoy has  2 full collections from Cinnamon Press: ‘Rise’, 2013, and ‘The Plucking Shed’, 2010; 3 pamphlets from Happenstance Press: ‘Uncertain Days’, 2006, ‘A Sampler’, 2008, and ‘The First Telling’ 2014. -This latter won the Michael Marks Award 2015. Gill was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2012.

One thought on “Tobacco Harvest, North Carolina – Gill McEvoy

  1. I found this really powerful, Gill. And it’s not just the simple impact of the concept (and I’m an ex-smoker!), it’s the richness of the images, the poetry of it. Those “pairs of lungs”. That’s very strong.


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