December 2011

Southern Bred

listen to this poem
 
Barely noon and already the sun
strong enough to melt middle class skin.

On the lawn, croquet balls have formed their own cliques,
mallets lounge, waiting.

Litter of cigarette butts in a starfish ashtray an aunt made,
I smoke too much and acknowledge the fact as I let beer bottles
congregate under the porch.

From around the pond’s bend you can hear
the rap music waking closer. A small skiff
appears with two pre-teen boys wearing lifejackets
and expensive sunglasses. I wave, but my twenty something
body is already too close to middle age for them,
something of disgust and authority.

They’re too cool for politeness, that age when their small pale
bodies want nothing more than to rebel against their parent’s
Suburbans. If they’d leaned closer, I could have told them
that they will end up fraternity men with trophy wives
and they’ll stop listening to that rap music, replace it
with Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band.

In these details, under the midday glow rests a poem,
but I’ve long given up apologizing for how I was raised.

I bite into a nectarine expecting the expensive white flesh
I paid for, but it’s turned mild yellow. Tastes tart, lost
its sweetness.