Wednesday Poem

—Weir, Mississippi, 1984
Sara Ross, Great and Grand-mother of all
rooted things waits on the family porch.

We make our way back to her beginnings.
Six daughters
gather space and time

in a small kitchen.

Recipes as old as the cauldron
aprons wrap around these daughters;
keepers of cast iron and collective.
Lard sizzles a sermon from the stove,

frying uncle’s morning catch

into gold-plated, cornmeal catfish.

Biscuits bigger than a grown man’s fist

center the Chantilly laced table of yams,

black eyed peas over rice and pineapple,

pointing upside down cake.
The fields, soaked with breeze and sun,

move across my legs like Sara’s hands.

Chartreuse colored waters, hide and seek

in watermelon patches, dim my ache for Chicago.
Peach and pear ornaments

hang from Sara’s trees.
Jelly jars tinted

with homemade whiskey,

guitar stringing uncles who never left

the porch, still dream of being famous

country singers.
Toothpicks, tipped hats and sunset
linger as
four generations come from

four corners to eat, pray, fuss and laugh

themselves into stories of a kinfolk,

at a country soiree, down in the delta.

by Parneshia Jones

(with thanks to Elatia Harris)