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

are quick.


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.