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SheetsDeputy Johnson loved his small town jobnot much trouble...just some river gamblers robbedbut something lay 'neath the surface of that townlike a swamp gator a few inches downlocal coloreds usually knew their placethe fair side of town had no use for their facebut once a black kid was cuffedwandering down a wealthy streetthey found him by his cotthe next day hanging from a sheetthe sheriff said it was one more darkie suicidebut Johnson had doubts about how that poor kid diedhe thought the world was headed straight for ruinwhen human beings hung others for being humanthen one night they hauled in a colored manfor jump starting a white lady's sedanthat old man had no recordhe sat in his cell bruised and beatbut Johnson turned that poor man loosecos he had a spotless sheeta truck ran Johnson's car off the roadand shadows said he'd broken a sacred codethey tied his hands and found a high tree limbJohnson swayed all night in that sweet magnolia windhe was all washed up but his conscience was cleana man on a rope beats a puppet on a stringdawn rose over the cotton fieldssharecroppers stooped in the heatback home the sheriff hid a robe and hoodmade from white cotton sheets(c)2004 Robert George
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