On Moving Back South


We  left            behind the cactus        and the quiet           moss    already echoing    in the early morning           We are sailing

back                 into war            into the flags               I watched my grandfather treasure                  into the closing courts     the righteous rage     When you and I met                we said    in harmony  I am never going back    I can never go             back  My tongue remembers folding    and fuming         and    bleeding            between my teeth       My jaw remembers        wiring shut       the fear           of being found out       fear I was not devout   the way they wanted

Now we are devout in this    our bodies are home  and the West has trained our mouths    to cradle a voice            Let these bodies know they can speak   the landscapes carved     into our calves will sing louder  than the roots                        we fear   will never change

2 thoughts on “On Moving Back South

  1. There are so many layers of awesomeness to this poem. I’m a fugitive from the South, too, and can deeply empathize with the strained relationship as seen through the multiple dichotomies important to me, from feminism to conservativism and erudition versus experience, as well as science versus religion. I’ve written (mostly fiction) of having to apply a poultice to myself to heal the racism of my forebears, and, as such, getting out of the South was one of the best things for me to do to advance that, for my own self. Anyway, enough rambling. A fabulous poem, of obvious skill.


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