old time religion

my parents were screaming

at each other

in Baptist curses

doors slamming

phones torn asunder

sounds of a home splitting apart at the roofbeams

my father throwing the floor model television out the front door

and one frightened sister

smuggling me out a bedroom window to another protective sister

that may not have all happened on the same night

it was so long ago &

this wasn’t constant

not your average weeknight at the Young’s house

but it’s always the first time

that matters most

tough eggs

it’s frustrating

when you’re trying

to teach your offspring

to fly off

from the nest

when

they are pigeons

the size of bowling balls

with no desire

to put aerodynamics

to the test

Paris in the rain

a woman’s life

is too tenuous

delicate

billowy

spider web

close call on I-75

in preterm labor

on the way to the

Paris airport

in the rain

fragile

beautiful

precious

sacrosanct

finite

for bad friends

bad family

bad coffee

bad shoes

bad mattresses

bad jobs

bad husbands

bad debt

and bad dick

learn this by 30 for maximum

enjoyment

future

female

conquerors

of a dying planet

Mabel Spaw Bates

Mabel Spaw Bates

Memaw,

I have dreamed about you

every night this week.

I would like to think you are visiting me

from the great beyond.

We’re in your house and

I can hear your voice,

I can smell your skin,

I can hear you laugh,

I can hear you sigh.

I can watch you smooth the table cloth

down with your hands

and wash the kitchen counter.

We watch Gone With the Wind together,

then have tea.

We look through an old Sears catalog,

we sort your quilt pieces,

we string buttons.

After we visit the Halls Gap Overlook,

we end the night at The Dairy Freeze.

I love you immeasurably.

The older I get,

the more I miss you.

Your absence is enough

to fill the world,

Mabel Spaw Bates.

*

Rest In Peace

ancestry

sometimes

i look at photographs

of my

grapes of wrath worthy

destitute

sunday best ragged

depression sepia

tobacco creased

great-grandparents  

and think

i can’t believe these people

fucked each other

 

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