Some Kind of Southerner

— Christine Van Winkle

I savor the taste of grits, I eat in abundance,
Abandon correspondence and circulars to
A glass-doored buffet,
Flavor summer squash mush with
Coarse little pepper flakes and
Sift paprika violently over my eggs.
Some grains of rice swim in every
Salt shaker, to keep out the damp.

A nuanced turn of phrase rustles up
Guffaws of laughter
My throat takes a lazy oblique shortcut
To my chest, from my chin,
Under thick cotton tailored fabric waits
My immutable, dimpled skin.
Our limbs all stick to the plastic checkered seats
When the air is warm and thick and yellow.

The heat always buffs everything
Before eleven is through, and a second tea,
A pitcher next to a carafe filled with coffee;
Arguments echo from kitchen to hall
About the strength of the brew. Too strong,
And the dishes have never been done.
This clatter goes on, inelegance and all,
No matter how far west we run.

It is a good heritage,
Pluck and stubborn inattention, wildness,
Madness, restless wives and black-fingered
Men wearing out their sleeves and wills.
Trim, fit calves from daily reaching into the
Top cupboards, on every pacing woman.
Drawers full of candles, red-backed playing
Cards, butter soft linens, and secrets, also.

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