Grey Held: Poetry: Jan 2022

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I grew up in the capital of the Confederacy, a stone’s throw from the James River. My dad grew up on Monument Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Jefferson Davis monument. My grandpa used to say “you can’t beat a dead mule and expect him to pull the cart.”


You talk slow, you think slow, I overheard 
my freshman roommate say
to my other roommate, who teased me
about my  y’alls, my yonder’s.

They branded my accent—
or tobacco-barker’s cry. 

First week of classes  culminated 
with all-night poker in the dorm floor
lounge—Pabst Blue Ribbon, a circular table
with five  guys wearing Yankees  
baseball caps and me, folding my lousy 
hand and letting slip from my mouth an
it doesn’t amount  to a hill of beans. 

They start called me Hill of Beans. 

That fall and winter of my freshman year
I kept my mouth shut in public, as in private 
I practiced scooping the gnat of my accent 
out of my glass of Southern Comfort,
scooping it out, before it drowned.