An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.
Looking for souvenirs to take back to your lovers, to prove you thought about them once in the midst of heat, toil, and hardly thinking about them at all? I recommend rebar. I recommend marbles. I recommend shards of shingles, nineteenth-century medicine bottles, forks, mountains of old bricks hoisted from the dirt, as if a whole other city had been built beneath this grass and sodded over. Keep your prize finds, a shelf of rust and porcelain and plastic, as if an archaeologist might one day stop by.
In the middle of downtown Jackson stands a triangle of statues carved in rough-hewn stone, their backs to each other, facing out toward the city: William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Eudora Welty. But Faulkner doesn’t belong, and in his place should be Margaret Walker. Wright, Welty, Walker: those are our Jacksonians, the old guard, the outsiders of gender and race and class whose stony shoulders we stand upon.