Here I Am In My Home Town with Alma

My home town
where Alma’s still a blonde even though we talk about
grandchildren—has it been thirty years?

My home town
where old guys on the courthouse square still play checkers
with bottle caps, Cream Soda for black and Coca-Cola for red.

My home town
where the counters in Mr. Wade’s drug store are still dirty
probably from the times Alma and I used to sit here
and wait to see if Austin or Billy would come in for cigarettes.

My home town
where Billy still comes in for a pack of Camels before he
picks up Alma at the beauty salon and Austin’s God knows where.

My home town
where everybody reads the Daily Democrat and most folks call
it the “Daily Disappointment” but get enough news to have an
opinion on almost everything.

My home town
that didn’t know what to do with me when I got pregnant.

My home town
has eyes in the back of its head that look like mother’s.

My home town where I came to dig up my body—or maybe my soul—with a
forked stick and sing the bones until I’ve found whatever
it is I’ve lost.

—Janet Taliaferro, Hazelhurst