Ancestors

by Andi Boyd

 

Who was here at all.

I found a name scratched into an old wooden panel door in a bathroom at a
one-size-fits-all diner in some lost town in Mississippi. They serve
blueberry milkshakes. Everybody stops by here, I hear her say through the wall.

Call it Carthage.
Call it Yazoo.

The face is a child in the Zipper line. The cheeks red with tears say to me with
more saliva than tongue                                              I cannot find my mom.

Who hears at all.

A whole body also—a family member no one can recall. Lived in a house that
burned down on the property fifteen years ago.

I can feel in my ears, the nips of my hair, the dense gravity of an approaching storm.

                                                                                       It’s heavy like the ghosts we carry
 
Whether you say so or not, the storm will show after all

                                                                        Put a record on, son. The ghost responds.

On the top of the skin is a layer of oil and Bourbon.
Under that is a bed of fire ants, and even further
is a tree of switches. In the middle is a knot
that we all chew upon.

Call it the Confederate Army.
Call it Pilate’s crimson hands
or the eye of a hurricane.

                                                                             Sinner, touch me, as only two sinners can.
 
The ghost reaches out a dark hand.

Call it Sanctuary.

Call it Matrimony.

Call the unspeakable name of God until it breaks clean.

 

Andi Boyd was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and grew up in South Louisiana. She holds a BA in English from Northwestern State University and an MFA in Poetry from Texas State University. She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Narrative Magazine, Pembroke Magazine, and Gone Lawn.

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