I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of drunkards. Psalm 102
I made sackcloth my garment once, by cutting arm and neck holes into a burlap bag. A croker sack they called it. Sackdragger they called the man who dragged a croker sack between the cotton rows to pick. He dragged a gunnysack behind him in the ditch collecting empties. Him they chose the Likeliest to Sack Seed in the feed store, or to suck seed. He was your daddy. He sacked groceries part-time, and they jeered: you sorry sack of shit. Sackcloth, which Job sewed upon his skin, was goat hair. God who clothed the heavens with such blackness said, I make sackcloth their covering. Isaiah understood. God had him speak a word in season to the weary. Speak, Isaiah, now, to me. Before the stars like green figs in a windstorm drop, the sun is black as sackcloth, and the moon becomes as blood. My soul is weary. Speak, Isaiah. Sing. I was a scholar as a boy: I cut the neck and arm holes into the burlap, pulled it on, and cinched it with a hank of rope: what I have done from then till now is itch.