Mother’s Way by Carrie Chappell


I come in the middle
of an Alabama coup
d’noon, in a hand-me-down,
in god’s plan, full

of migratory thoughts,
of infinite
do what now.


In various shades
of denim,
in the scent
of Old Spice, you
arrive in a spell,
with cupped hands,
with a few words
sailing in your head.


Not enough to say
a prayer
or make an excuse.

I am waited for
on porch swings,
in the names
of flowers, in drops
of bourbon, in the junk
of junkyards. Really,
no way to show you
all the things on the road
to Alabama.

You pull up
in your ’61 Chevy Biscayne.
I prop open the house
door, introduce you,
wait for the wave.

She waves you in, Stranger.
Really, no way
to tell you
what I’ve excised
from this mouth.


How sick to see me
this way, living
proof that cowards
hide in and out of
a drawer. Lawyer

the rhyme is meaningless. Yet,
here in my mouth,
I cannot hide,
attentive as my plots may be,
I cannot hide, ruthless
the mind that wants
to get away.

Really, no way to
tell you what I’ve excised
from this flesh.

Really, no hiding it
now, as it dipthongs out
my mouth. I told you

lawyuh, or which way
do I say it? Anymore,
I don’t know.