First Revision - Fragments


My earliest image:
long rows of tall corn
a dainty white dress
clean in the sun
I can’t see the face.

Perhaps, when I’m much older
my childhood will come back
and like my elders
I’ll repeat the stories until my family
turns glassy-eyed and numb. 

My childhood is
only fragments -
some may be real
yet others perhaps
simply from the books
which consumed my youth.

Second grade is only Mrs. Stephenson -
the blackboard -
a congested cloak room
where a boy named Stephen kissed me -
Suzanna with patent leather shoes,
a brief memory of “S’s”.

Rural Roane County,
A road called Steele Hollow
where we perched like mountain goats
in that small house.
I still cling to hills and mountains
for solace and protection.

There is the summer of birth and fire.
of glorious oaks and sassafras
across the road, flaming in July.
My sisters and I watched
as men dug ditches and threw dirt -
no running water or fire department this far out.

Six brown eyes flicked between
the burning woods and
the stoop of a front porch
where our calico cat
lay quietly and
birthed three kittens.

Most of my memories
are peopled with moss, bluetts,
a grape arbor,
an elegant apple tree,
goose berries brown with ripeness
and mud leaching its rusty red into my life.