Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’ve lived all of my life south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I come from Bandy, which is located in southwest Virginia. I was six when my family moved to Hampton Roads. My dad escaped a life in the coal mines to work as a pipefitter at the Newport News Shipyard. With my very first day in class I was criticized by the teacher for saying “y’all” and eliding vowels to get to what I meant to say.
Summer nights On rooftop & flatten tin With a short rail to remind us To go no further, Though further was there: A twelve-inch no-name Japanese TV, Black & White, From the age of three channels And the birth of PBS, All in analog, With ghosts and snow And off the air I-Ds. Hubs of registration Made for the modern family From the duress of need And given sotto voce, Outer Limits fashion, Declarations of end of days With promises of more—if only. Something for the Engineer In twilight to attend, While house & hearts cool And thoughts of inside, Back to attic rooms, Seem inevitable & cruel.