In the spring the magnolias are intoxicating. Their fragrance prompts deep breaths that release tension and you are— disarmed. The iced tea is sweet like the smiles because the rude and bitter meet with disapproval. Come closer. Step into the magnolia’s shade and inhale again, deeper this time. Can you discern the pungency of the blossom’s scent? Here, life is about the veneer. Stay long enough and the truth will emerge. Whenever it rains the soil, rich with red clay, splashes against the foundations of the houses, reinforcing the blood splattered look of the town. Potted flowers fill the cemeteries, but the petals shrivel quick and drop from neglect. Death is ever-present.