Drawn out vowels hang heavy
in air already thick with moisture.
Sweet as pie. She don’t have the sense
God gave a June bug! Bless his heart.
Laws, darlin’, use some butter in that cooking!
That dog won’t hunt. Tuck your shirt in
and button up girl; you ain’t a hussy.
Languid voices set the table
with a checkered cloth and the profligate use of “ain’t.”
There are fixin’s and suppertime instead
of appetizers and dinner. A child with a wooden spoon adds
one more cup of sugar in sun-brewed sweet
tea to reach the perfect, syrupy sweetness
in the glasses that accompany every meal.
On the table? ‘Mater sandwiches
spread with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper;
mush-melon, a sweet, overgrown cantaloupe;
and banana puddin’ with no ‘g’ to speak of,
or at least none you can hear.
The phrases, the menu, the dropped letters:
the voices of the south at suppertime.