I'Ll Try To Tell You What I Know

Sometimes it's so hot the thistle bends
to the morning dew and the limbs of trees
seem so weighted they won't hold up moss
anymore. The women sit and swell
with the backwash of old family pain
and won't leave the house to walk across
the neighbor's yard. One man takes up a shotgun
over the shit hosed from a pen of dogs.
One boy takes a fist of rings and slams the face
of a kid throwing shells at his car.
That shiny car is all the love his father
has to give. And his mother cooks
the best shrimp étouffée and every day
smokes three packs down to their mustard-colored ends.

One night the finest woman I ever
knew pulled a cocktail waitress by the hair
out of the backseat of her husband's new
Eldorado Cadillac and knocked her
down between the cars at the Queen Bee Lounge.
She drove the man slumped and snoring with his hand
in his pants home and not a word was said.
I'll try to tell you what I know
about people who love each other
and the fear of losing that cuts a path
as wide as a tropical storm through the marsh
and gets closer each year
to falling at the foot of your door.

by Martha Serpas

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