“If I could stir
I could break a tree—
I could break you.”
Once I thought there were two kinds of Southern women the ones who stay and the ones who leave I thought it was a choice and an easy one that any body could plough through the humidity could scrape a silhouette blooming like a Bradford pear tree into a dirt road let the dew erode the curves as calloused feet bleed and break uproot But I misspoke then There’s a difference between stay and stuck between leave and luck I wanted to know if the myths were true I followed the Devil to Clarksdale, Mississippi stood at the Crossroads marked by a faded sign hot and ghostly I looked further down at a woman my age her belly spilt over her shorts rounding and rounding glistening in July’s heat her other children pressing like grapes against her legs and my stomach a pear turning pink in this city of legend of Blues This is not my story to tell She is not my petal to collect and press into a picture book for proof that I said a prayer or made a deal to stir
Genesis Note: In my final MFA workshop, we were asked to consider a poem all women should read. I remembered H.D.— how taken I was with her mythic language, as well as her careful recalling of Sappho, a lineage of the power of the female voice. “Crossroads” is inspired by and borrows language from “Garden.”
One thought on “Crossroads”
Ah, the language and oh . . . the singing bird accompaniment! Lovely job, @hannahpaigebaggott!