Charles Portis

1 Article
John Hicks

It was freezing in Vicksburg. The sky was bright blue, banded with cirrus clouds. Up on the bluffs, in the military park, I saw the raised ironclad hulk of the USS Cairo for the first time. They picked it up from the bottom of the Yazoo River a few decades ago and built a museum around it.

There’s something that never gets old about seeing a big ship that’s been dragged up on land. In its day, the Cairo slithered down the river like a gigantic smoking robot alligator, blowing things to pieces. I imagine people ran the other way when they saw it.