Carol Parris Krauss: Poem


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born from two western NC mountain folk and have kissed the clouds crossing Grandfather Mountain Bridge. As a Clemson graduate, like my father before me, my blood runs orange. I warsh my clothes and sometime dangle my toes in the crick. Boiled okrie scares me, but I love me some boiled peanuts with a sip of shine. I was born in SC, raised in NC, and now live in the shadows of the Shenandoah.

The Rails We Ride

Steel stitching nearly across the back stoop bottom step.
A 2:00 am and 6:00 pm Southern Rail snake jounced
the dishes in Granny’s hutch, hopped the kitchen table chairs
clear to the living room. Smoke steamed the patchwork curtains,
and a long wail startled the baby. Twice daily without fail.

For three years, the rattle and rail trailed me as I washed floors,
changed dirty diapers. Every Saturday, wiped down walls
dotted in cabbage rose wallpaper. Thin as shoebox cardboard.
Wondered what would happen if I removed my apron, asked Tina
from next door to babysit.

Didn’t even scratch out a hasty goodbye. Just grabbed that rusty
caboose ladder. Felt my legs swing out and take purchase on nothing
but danger. A passenger, instead of a witness.