It IS Valentine’s Day, y’all, so of course I’m going with (yet another) love poem today.
This one, though, is about reclaiming/dusting off love of one’s roots, and about being proud of who you are/where you’re from no matter what other people think.
i was talking to the night wind,
not to you,
speaking as a southern woman
who has lived west and north,
who can call down the stars
as well as anyone else
and whose vowel-slurring voice —
oil, boil, wire, fire —
has borne years of soft censure
for not washing itself plain and
flavorless enough for you.
my pinky curls when i lift a sweating can
for reasons i can’t explain,
the filthy southern goddess in me
standing barefooted, unbowed
in the heavy colors of my kudzu tongue;
molasses-thick in my cornbread mouth,
my words, rooted deep, hold fast.
-Mel Eatherington, 02.22