As seen in Bayou Magazine
Architect, Age Twenty-Four
On the back porch, Momma builds
a backbone in my hair. It starts
at my right temple, where the hair is still baby-fine
and stiffens across the back, down to my left ear.
Her hand forms a rib. A hug. Her fingers
My Samantha doll bounces on my
lap as I follow along. My mother teaches
how to strain a lock through my knuckles
and stitch it underneath.
My doll’s hair is full of stitches and I
am almost in my mother’s lap.
Last I held
this doll, my hands could barely
fist all of the coarse fibers.
I would grasp them like stumbled-through field grass
and Samantha has never cried.
I run my fingers over the spine I’ve created
in Samantha’s hair. It is loose, flouncy.
My mother tucks the last little rosemary spike
of my hair, the last little wood splinter of a lock
into the perfect chain of her braid.
Low Country Boil
I promised my scarecrow a full belly.
I had no choice. He knew my summer harvest.
I picked for the pot things that had the longest
life. The sacrifice was greater.
Each iron pore filled with rendered pig, shrimp
from the coldest rock waters, I clamped down
the lid until the crawfish stopped moving.
The scarecrow folded himself
into a seat and titled down his head, heavy.
I fanned gold broth’s bubbles
into my scarecrow’s burlap face. His hunger
always led him back, splaying shadows over my doorstep.
Echoes of spice swarmed. The salt rub,
the familiar bitter hops, clove teeth,
celery seed’s false heat. When the moon
reached the standby position,
I ladled out the offering. My scarecrow’s eyes,
warm and alien as a bull’s in the dark
rolled over the potatoes, the huskless corn,
the emptiness in the sky
which he understood from his time spent lighthousing the field.
I could keep him fed.