Not Understanding Palimpsests, My Granny Thought She Could Leave the Holler


She had the will to rise
         from the shaded holler
                     where spring peepers hid
                                 in the tangles of honeysuckle
to desert to its dust the road
         lined with tiger lilies
                     and the mix and match leaves
                                 of the quick growing sassafras.
Look at her truck
         packed up with the babies
                     and a used store-bought dresser,
                                 a special place for her colors and scents.
Watch how she keeps her back
         to the outhouse her own hands dug
                     and the shack bought and paid
                                 with calloused hands and late nights.
This will now be a summer place
         where the babies’ babies’ babies
                     will salt potato salad and pour red
                                 Kool-Aid from large glass pitchers,
a place for them to say,
         Weren’t we once so country,
                     before heading home to town
                                 where real life traps you in aluminum
                                             siding, concrete walkways,
                                                                     neighbors in
                                                                                 hailing distance.

Jennifer Schomburg Kanke, originally from Columbus, Ohio, lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she edits confidential government documents. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, and Sou’Wester. She serves as a reader for Emrys.

Image Credit: “Traces 2” by Ana Jovanovska
Read by Jennifer Schomburg Kanke 

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