" You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far. "
_ Uncle Remus, Song of the South
father you are crowding my poetry.
i am typing about stairs and they become
the escape from your bristle brush, mustache ends.
whatever you do don't throw me in that briar bush
i am typing about the Civil War,
dead soldiers make mountains of dead girls.
my arm pokes in broken attitude from nightgown,
a slight acknowledgment i existed.
bullets lodge in body's private spaces, beyond removal.
lordy please don't throw me in that bush
years later marrow wraps round the thing
humps it with those stone cold bones
leeching out metal, filtering blood
through a service of peculiar hell:
if the onslaught didn't kill you, the survival will.
every metaphor bowing head in subservience
to your huge Southern self,
a chain gang of fucked, a long drawn out sick-up.
i see your martial arts in my rhyme schemes
your bellicose grandiose incredible shredding voice-
making way through my flickering
mantra: i have a choice.
i dry heave every morning
the children raise their eyebrows,
they are now realizing
their mother is a briar rabbit.
tiny violence- i am in control of this mutilation.
dig small graves, pull fat scabs
leave the dug up holes ugly, hot bed babies
never put to rest,
a natural deterrent to love.
oh my darling, you were lost and gone forever
why can't you stay missing?
i killed you enough.
the phone screams, the cat heaves,
the dogs are barking all down the street
my babies set up a long howling
the mailman rings twice
i have no government team
testing this envelope, enveloping me in gas mask.
only the thin bloody line of paper cut
lies between your signature
and my survival.
maggie may ethridge