HomeSouthern VoiceMy Mother At Seven, With Tennessee Williams

My Mother At Seven, With Tennessee Williams

by Danielle Sellers

Key West, 1960

Grandpa Albert sharpened her pencil
with his pocketknife. In those days, she rode

a watermelon pink Schwinn with a white basket,
twin streamers like pigtails on the handlebars

around the corner to Tennessee’s house.
Often, she would see him in the yard

behind the picket fence, trimming
hibiscus, white with pink centers.

If he’d glance her way, she’d pedal faster—
a dirty business, spying. She dreamed

in glossy photographs of his pencil-
thin mustache, black as beans,

the gentle wave of his hair like night ocean.
She mustered the nerve to stop,

the arc from his garden hose
rainbowing in afternoon sun,

to tell him she was a writer, too.
Imagine his delight in a fan so young.

He encouraged her to keep at it,
the difficult work. But she didn’t.

Danielle Sellers is from Key West, Florida. She has an MA from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of Mississippi, where she held the John Grisham Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in River Styx, Subtropics, Smartish Pace, The Cimarron Review, Poet Lore and elsewhere. Her first book, Bone Key Elegies, was published by Main Street Rag. She teaches iterature and creative writing at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas.

Incidents in the Lif
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