To Take You Home with Me

To take you home with me,
I’d have to find the skinny orange cup
That I liked to fill
With well-water.
The smell of stone, earth, and
Neon plastic…
That is home for me.

If you really wish
To know who I am,
Follow me to the bridge
On the creek
In Van Lear, and hold
A stick and a string
While the sun kiss-burns
Your shoulders.

Wrap your fingers around the mason jar
Of fireflies,
But you have to call them
Lightning bugs,
And Jimmy is bound to make you
Let them go.
We don’t kill for fun
In my family.

There was a baton,
A fancy dress and trophies.
I had my princess days,
But – more often – there were
Earthworms, muddy hands, chicken eggs,
And Papaw pretending
Not to like me.

Plush bears, soap operas,
Yellow-faded bedspreads,
And always being everyone’s
Little girl.

I was born a favorite,
In a land of full-grown people,
And I have never forgotten how it feels
To be loved the best.


*originally published on Middle Places


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