Could we take a moment to consider O’Connor,

maybe Welty, or Faulkner too? Where regional

works are absorbed into families, and deformity

is linked to the spirit.

Because that is my own dilemma.

Can I have a club foot, or a disfigured

face, a hand that never lets go?

What would they have said about

my spirit? What would the lesson be?

There is a theme among parable-like stories,

short and long, novels and poems,

and words that sound like home,

every page I turn.

Perhaps I am already grotesque,

and that’s why I relate

so well.

Although, I’ve often felt closer to Chopin’s

characters. To take my clothes off near the beach,

run into the the welcoming waves,

and become so lost in my own awakening

that I drown.

The Optimist of Opthamology

I’ve always made the best
of any situation that I am in.
It’s my one redeeming quality
that I can proudly proclaim.

When I was young, my parents found
I have an ailment of the eye,
and we’re advised to let me go blind
in the bad, to have one good eye.

They defied that fate, seeking
better for their oldest daughter,
and I had seen more specialists
than any of my friends at four.

I have no depth perception
without my eyes’ bickering against
the other’s point of view, 
both myopic and hyperopic,
I see the past and future,
and consolidate the present.

Tethered to earth, I float a
realm unseen inside imagination
that never seems to shut off.

With these tools, I am given
new perspective, seeing things
as only I can. So whether life
gives me citrus, or a buzz,
I am never without objectivity.

I Revisit Memory, and Regret Every One of my Interactions

Mary Szybist sat next to me,
eating salad, and talking about
“Big Lebowski”.
I was shocked that she enjoyed it,
and she compared it to Faulkner.

If I could go back, I’d revise my answers. I would tell her that I
loved “A Rose for Emily”, and that it’s not the whole of the movie,
but the character Walter.

Sure, I didn’t like it that my husband
chose a movie that seemed to drag,
but it was interesting to think
about how it was similar to Faulkner.
I think about similarities to plot,
wondering if I can make more connections.

I would have asked you why you liked it,
instead I was so concerned about looking fat, letting myself be consumed from within,
and I could have learned the answers
to the questions eating at me now.

I wish I were better at speaking.
Honestly, there was so much I wanted to ask you. I would have asked about
my favorite poem by you, and maybe
asked what other films
are literary in disguise.

Words Previously Unsaid to the Mountains

I miss the verdant overgrowth that took apart the roads and houses,

where simple flowers, vines, and trees, would take back from usurping man.

Water rushed in great expanse, though from the peaks it trickled down

as sun would heat the sleeping earth to streams, and brooks, and rivers,

finally cascading down, roaring as the waterfall, mightier than any manufactured fountain.

The muggy morning never failed to raise the plumes of blue;

the smoky fog of water lazily escaping dampened dirt.

I was allowed there as a visitor, and offered place to slumber,

but for all the richest greenery, I missed my yellowed fields.

I missed the great flat grassy plains, but more so missed my sisters,

my mother, father, aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandmother.

I could not commit to mountains, fresh air, winding trails,

and yet with my mind made, my choice I still consider.

Could I have been happier in Cade’s Cove than my Hill Country?

Could I give up my prized Panhandle for Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge?

And could all the tempted black bears, who came to sample candy apples,

persuade my indecisive heart to leave the armadillos?

I have often thought my butterfly to be solely the Monarch,

but Swallowtail has given me much thought, lately.

The fireflies that swarmed the summer lit our night anew

twinkling there in the midst of us, tiny stars just within our reach.

As I rethink my hasty departure from the Smokey Mountains,

I question if they’d let me back, if only to steep in wonder.

I Hate Velveeta

(I don’t know how to talk about this poem. I’m kind of ranty today. So, a ranty poem seemed fun to do. ^_^)

Every Christmas somebody makes it,

and while most are more catious

by loathsome vegetable pizza or fruitcake,

there is only one thing that I fear:

someone will call out that queso is out

I hurry to check, and find it’s not.

Putting Rotel in it doesn’t help it.

No amount of seasoned meat will disguise,

the flavor is anything but delicious

and calling it cheese is offensive.

I lose my appetite when I see it

I imagine the long term effects on my stomach.

It’s plastic. It tastes nothing like what it pretends to be.

An assault on your nose and mouth

like burned rubber tasting

worse than soured milk,

and people call it “liquid gold”

I just turn my nose up and sneer.

You can’t pour it into a bowlful of chips

call it nachos and present it to me.

I will feel sick, and go to bed,

don’t try to force me to “Just try it.”

I won’t change my mind in “one bite”.

You can’t fool me! This isn’t cheese!

Go eat your weird plastic food with the others.

You can pretend that it’s cheese among them.