Lindsey McIntosh :: Tragedy of Mrs. McQueen :: When Rivers Run Red ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: Southern Appalachia is home. The mountains have consistently entered their service as the building blocks of what it means to be alive. Within its peaks and valleys, I was raised by fearless women–their strength and light guided me through the hazardous trauma of childhood and taught me the way of persistence and our never-ending fight for survival.

Two Poems

Tragedy of Mrs. McQueen 

Kneeling, creek side
Grounded on mountain land
Sits a woman
Picking weeds from her stream
Singing ballads
‘Til the water ran clean

She combed through tangles
Briars of blackberry
Tugged at roots like knots
Apologized to soil wounds
You’ll come back, fear not

Everything connected
Waterways and all,
She believed this nurture
Will carry downstream
Tell me, have you ever seen a finer spring?

Summer storm nights
Slow stroll home,
She stopped for one drink
At old mill spring—

Fate trickled through
Finger slits
Trading sparkling sweetness
For tainted tasteless

One sip—tepid
One sip—fatal
No one said,
Water could betray her

When Rivers Run Red

when this is over
and if the South rises,
answers will flow
from gums swollen, bloody
palms spread, open
desire dressed dandelions
& lost faith

we’ll ask
was it worth the price?
of misjudged predictions
& lies sent from above.
the crave for control
to cover Her body in daises
to discard penance
and gulp pardons

still, we’re here
slathered in rose red
gums shredded
hands slick rivers

buried in the garden
of Eve