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Autumn/Winter 2017

No one wants to go back to fall in love

with rebellion. She is a debutante

dressed in white. She has plans
to keep her man in Alabama, no matter

how he comes. It’s always from the North

through Chattanooga or from the East
over the Appalachians, a mighty monster

sleeping on its side, elbow up in New Hampshire,

hips sloped at Kentucky, bumpy thighs and knees

knotty all the way to Birmingham.

No one wants to ride that dragon again, not even

for a wife and two children, pride and reparation.

Debutante is going to have to find her way back

by herself, back home where tornadoes play

hop-scotch on the soft side of Monte Sano.

The kids grow like weeds. They defy all odds.
They have no rebellion. They have no plans
for reconstruction. They float around like hoverflies

in the mountain valley breeze. At dusk, they wander

towards the light, and here we go back to Alabama

where great grandfather’s farm is grown over
to a ramshackle color of possum fur, a shadow

leaning in the evergreen. Where headstones sink

in moss covered with pecan shells, broken,
the fresh ones and the rotten ones, black as soot. 

Back to Alabama

by Valerie Smith

Valerie Smith is a poet and creative nonfiction writer currently completing her Master of Arts in Professional Writing at Kennesaw State University. Her poems have appeared in BlazeVOX15 and Exit 271: Your Georgia Writers Resource. She is currently preparing for May 2018 graduation with a book-length poetry manuscript. 

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