Down to Earth

by Leigh Donaldson

Her face is contorted with love,
dry, brown, cracked
like coffee grains
left too long in
A red clay cup;
cradling the dregs of youth.

She screams through her day
across heatinfested cotton fields
she once tilled.

Her bosom swells in
a cauldron of impoverished fury.
Tempered by blind faith
she sways between hate and hope.

Stubborn and deep rooted,
the earth moves her, as

She guts her nails into the earth
Pulling up redblooded fibers,
red clay, Mississippi mud.

Lifting her mother’s remains from hell
she carries the wet bones to
A oneroom shack,
stinking of whiskey and men.

They lie down together, while she
marks the school papers
written by the children
she was called upon to teach.