May 21, 2006

in praise of the southern woman

it's the angle of the chin
just so, sweet drawl caresses
knee-weakened men
with keen assessments
of the dogwood's health
and the precise number of pines
taken down this season
to let the sun warm
gardens of tomatoes and herbs
against a backdrop:
Chinese maple shades
her ceramic bird bath.

it's the turn of a phrase
pleasant peaches with punch,
the southern woman never
surrenders, but wraps control
in a checkered napkin, folded triangle,
a homecoming to strangers and friends
in the blazing heat of summer.

Her voice is cool relief, beads of
sweat on Nanna's glass pitcher,
sweet tea with ice to quench his thirst.

The sins of her foremothers beckon,
remember her into forgiveness, witness
to her shortcomings,
she pours learning over lemon,
perspiring in a tall glass
on the wrought iron table
in the heat of the
mid-day sun.

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