South: The Name of Home

i
all that night
I prayed for eyes to see again
whose last sight
had been
a broken bottle
held negligently
in a racist
fist
God give us trees to plant
and hands and eyes to
love them.

ii
When I am here again
the years of ease between
fall away
The smell of one
magnolia
sends my heart running
through the swamps.

iii
the earth is red
here—
the trees bent, weeping
what secrets will not
the ravished land
reveal
of its abuse?

iv
an old mistress
of my mother’s
gives me
bloomers for christmas
ten sizes
too big
her intentions are
good my father
says
but typical—
neither the color
she knows
nor the
number.

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