Magnolia Springs, Alabama & Barefoot

by Katherine D. Perry
My wide, sturdy feet, dusted,
thump the ground like a thumb
across drum flesh, a thick snap of my 75 pounds
pushing into the sandy bronze earth
as I run from Pretty Mama’s,
around the garden and scuppernong vine,
down the path in front of David’s trailer,
under the clothes line,
between the pump house and the Little House
where my mother was raised;
I pass the church with a tall white steeple
trying to move out of here as fast as I am.
On the other side of the paved highway,
there is a spring, and a ponding hole where
hippies smoke pot and swing out on a long rope
and drop their thin, shirtless bodies
into the cool water like silver minnows diving down.
But I don’t cross over, instead
I hold my quarter between thumb and peace fingers
letting it get warm while I decide which candies
to take home today:  ring pop, caramel single,
or chocolate mint.

I always did this without shoes,
only regretting that choice when I crossed
            the walkway into Moore’s store
            the heat pushing my blistering feet up and away.

Back then, most paths were dirt
and my feet were enough to carry me.
Katherine D. Perry is an Associate Professor of English at Perimeter College of Georgia State University. Her first book of poetry, Long Alabama Summer, was released in December of 2017 from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Writers Resist, Women’s Studies Quarterly, The Dead Mule of Southern Literature, Poetry Quarterly, Southern Women’s Review, Bloodroot, Borderlands, Women’s Studies, RiverSedge, Rio Grande Review, and 13th Moon. She is a co-founder of the Georgia State University Prison Education Project, which works in Georgia prisons to bring literature and poetry to incarcerated students. She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her spouse and two children. Her website is www.katherinedperry.com

© 2018, Katherine D. Perry