SOUTHERN BELLE BY NAILAH MATHEWS

to see you on

your wraparound porch

teacup under your

feet while you rock

on the swing

backinforth

in the sharp

neon heat.

grandbabies dozing on the

shirt of a cousin and

absinth

swishin his tail

hellbent on the

ball of yarn you knit

into sacheta for

the young to make their dreams sweet like

a lump of funnel cake on the

tongue,

sweet like

tea in the pitcher sweatin

cold soft beads in the heat,

this one is for

tallulah, plum's secondborn, purple

haired,

still fat.


knees deep in the garden, i pick lavender, the

chamomile, peach pit

and

clove;

hawthorn, rowan,

you weave the bundle together

from string dyed with

fruit and fat and bone,

a key of mine, like

a lock of your hair,

the bundles we made when we were wived.

i remember

carrying the twins and

the son who surprised us

new grown and

off the spyre

where he will count

between the stars

trip and fool the gods

like his big sisters

then us before —

we were wicked in our younger days.