House with peeling skins of gray paint,
with swaybacked wooden porches
furnished with dingy sofas
and wringer washers perched on
old fashioned legs.
Houses with dirt yards and muddy chickens.
Houses with no indoor plumbing,
with outhouses leaning at tipsy angles.
(I remember being embarrassed to pee
in a red-rimmed white enameled chamberpot
on a rainy night with all the old folk
looking at me.)
Sounds of buzzing flies
and screen doors banging in the summertime
Dirt roads where the dust flies up in your fa
and a grassy field where a mule chews
— where a mule chews slow and thoughtful-like.
(Some men have caught a huge turtle
and are dragging it down the street
at the end of a rope.
An old woman wearing a faded print dress
fastined with a safety pin says,
“That’ll make right god soup.”
I play in the thick, green branches of a tree
knocked down by a storm.
I eat all the orange candy in the aspirin bottle
and sleep for two days;
wake up wearing a wrinkled dress.
I steal a doll and my mother makes me
give it back.
Agnes lets me help her in the kitchen,
weaving white strips of dough
in a lattice for the apple pie.
All this returns in a moment,
bubbling up with the aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon
Alabama memories returning like a familiar dream.