Louisiana

by April C. Honaker 

I’ve come back to you now more than once,
a stubborn lover drawn to a single, sunlit memory,
to the one sparkling passage in a book brimming shadow.
Though you welcome me indifferent,
carrying on the same old way,
I don’t mind — this light becomes you.
I know what they say — about you, about us.
To them, we’re just backward relatives
nobody knows what to do with anymore.
So what if they ignore us, bad-mouth us, try half-heartedly
to improve us? So what if they all leave?
I’ll stay — you know I will.
To me, you’re not just moody weather and a pile of dirty scores.
I know about your leaky pockets of ignorance,
your eroding physique, and your penchant for peeing in public.
I even know about your attraction to hurricanes, and yes,
it makes me a little jealous,
but to me, you’re still the soothing sound
of rain on an old tin roof and the resonance of frogs
through my window at night,
you’re the lone deer I watch
standing on quivering hind legs in cool, dewed grass,
plucking dried mimosa pods with your teeth,
and you’re the exotic flower with thin, white spindles
that blooms deep in the woods where the voices say
you can’t possibly grow,
so let me place my hand again
in the curved petal of your palm,
let me fall asleep nights on the moss-covered earth of your chest,
and when the weather changes,
I’ll massage the stiffness from your worn, cypress knees.

April C. Honaker grew up in Ruston, Louisiana, where she still lives and is part of a small writers’ workshop that meets weekly. She received her Master’s in English from Louisiana Tech University in 2009 and has been teaching composition and technical writing there for the last four years. In 2009, she received Sigma Tau Delta’s Isabel Sparks President’s Award for best representing the conference theme in poetry. She also received a 2012-13 Artist Career Advancement grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts. So far, her work has been published in The 2River View.

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