Heather Loudermilk :: Three Poems ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I come from West Virginia folks who moved around after World War II and eventually settled in Bassett, Virginia. I’m a mix of Appalachian and Southern, with an accent that skips quick instead of drawling slowly through the air.

Three Poems

Things we hang on the line:

bras, one with a cup less
stretched out from holding
nothing; panties with blood
stains, splotches we can’t
scrub out or bleach over; work
shirts that smell like corn
liquor or have a small swipe
of joint ash on the pocket. If
you think secrets have to speak
to be told, you’ve never done
laundry like we have.

we are repeating history, we are bad and good

for Memaw

coffee table litterings: black hole pile up to our arm
pits smoking Marlboro lights, reds, shorts and extra
longs–same sized butts in the ashtray still trailing fire

beer bottles lined up big 40 ounces of miller high lite
tomato juice bottles riced salt shakers I mixed
red eyes at this table before I could drive drunk drunk

drunk driving is funny if you live that’s what I thought
when we talked in this living room when
we drank in her car my car gripped steering wheels

and flirted all over town there’s nothing like enjoying
a drink nothing like touching a man too
bad we don’t know each other now

Supper Time

We once had a green
chicken that we plucked
down from plush
feathers to corroded
skin. Granny said there
is no way in hell
we’d touch a green
skinned chicken
with our taste buds.
Said we can’t afford
to die now, said we
can afford new fowl,
and it hasn’t been like
that forever. Granny
cooks it up anyway,
said we can’t feed
it to the dogs raw;
I stare at the pan,
make a disgusted face.
Granny tells me there
was a time we’d have
nothing to eat but that,
so I better be grateful
before it’s my turn
to pay for, or raise up,
the chicken.