Ours is a gin town full of relations.
Cotton gin. Gin, gin. Gin rummy.
My husband and I are prominent citizens
Here. The way we love each other
Smacks of incest. Kith, ken, a baker’s dozen
Of play cousins. My father and mother
Were brother and sister. My husband and I
Are brother and sister. Like most Southern towns
Scandals are common. People need
Clear definitions of good and evil.
For the sake of convenience, I have been
Assigned the latter.
The women here
Admire my beauty, though they persist in describing
Me as matronly. When I slip on my voile sundress,
I can still hold my own with any of these young
Things. I know it’s the contradictions that keep
A man’s attention. These nubile girls
Still locked under they Daddy’s roof have difficulty
Understanding such a concept. See, it’s natural
For one to believe, especially when one is still young,
That youth is beautiful in itself. They forget
Youth is everywhere for the taking. Men find it
Puzzling, they don’t understand their own
Fascination with me. My raven mane reflects
Grass and skies like the iridescent eyes of a peacock’s plume.
My pale arms and bovine stare contradict
What’s hinted at beneath the thin cotton. This show of skin
They take for proof that the rest of me has never
Been touched. A prize denied to even the Sun is surely
Worth coveting. My wide brown gaze loses something
In translation. All of this can’t be
Reconciled with the fullness of my décolletage,
Which growed men seem to view
Only in terms of sex.
Early. Folks around here use my marriage
As other towns would use a statue. Historical record,
Landmark, a visual point of reference for giving
Directions to people passing on their way through to
Some place else. In exchange for this stability, people seek
Our advice just because we haven’t killed
My man Z got one of them roving eyes.
Churchgoers and heathens alike admire him
For it. His stutter talk followed by the pickup’s
Roar into a cloud of smoke always means he’s slipped
Off to get his buckle shined. The sight of him
Speeding off to see someone else, the same way
He used to speed off to see her, killed
One little girl who thought she was in love.
One time I caught him
Lowriding a white Caddy.
Shameful. A man old as he is
All slunk down, near falling over, in the seat.
One hand barely on the wheel, the other elbow
Jutting cross the armrest. I threw
My arms around him, kissed and cooed
Like he had bought the car for me. I drove
All over town, told every gossip I could find, even paid
A visit to the woman it belonged to. I know
Every time she hears my name
It must feel like a gadfly biting her ass.