Elizabeth Warner : Poetry : August 2021

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in West Virginia. Torn between the northern and southern cultures in the United States, I grew up conflicted about my identity as a young woman from Appalachia. When I tell someone I’m from West Virginia, I usually get the response, “How close to Richmond do you live?” I never knew how to respond. My writing has given me a way to respond. A way to love and admire my home, enough to want to make it the best place it can be in the future.

Recipes from Home

The smooth sweet sound of Appalachia,
The one that comes right through the trees.
Like moonshine and campfire smoke,
And the rustlin’ summer breeze.

The high pitch scream of Appalachia,
That echoes off our mountains.
Little kids and railroad tracks,
Undone chores, and mama shoutin’.

The slow burn itch of Appalachia,
The one that grows right with the ramps.
Dripping sweat, Bug bites, and harvest strong,
And reading the Sunday paper, by the light of a bedside lamp.

The whispered meetings of Appalachia,
The ones that disappear and strengthen in the night.
Saying “take care” cause you’re too afraid to say goodbye,
Hoping you’ll see them again before the light.

The twisted tale of Appalachia,
The one that tells you you’ve been dealt a bad hand.
But the hare hops over towards your feet, the doe dives to poke its nose through the brush. The owl hoots a lullaby,
And the wildlife comes alive to say “maybe you’re just playing the wrong game.”