Savannah S. Miller. :: In Tennessee, Part II ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I grew up in a little town in southern Virginia whose claim to fame was an extremely popping Dairy Queen and a gas station with fried chicken that could put any KFC to shame. I spent four years at a school in New England trying to hide my twang before realizing that my “hey y’all’s” and “bless your hearts” were a part of my soul from which I couldn’t be separated. Since I graduated, I moved back South, first to Charlotte, North Carolina, and then to Memphis, Tennessee–a city that has quickly made itself at home in my heart. It’s hard to hear the Mississippi River roar and not feel profoundly changed on a molecular level. At least, I assume so. That’s how it was for me.

In Tennessee, Part II

Late at night sometimes,
I pray to W.C. Handy and Elvis and B.B. King,
And I will them to bring you back to me.
I walk along the city streets of song,
Delta blues and sunny skies,
And I imagine that the reason it is not pouring now
Is because all the water has found refuge in me
And is causing me to drown inside out.
A heart broken in Tennessee
Does not recover like other hearts might,
For it is hard to heal in a place of music so beautiful
And so sad that it imbeds every building,
Finds solace in the cracks of the sidewalk,
The same ones we used to walk together.
I cried over a plate of sweet potato fries from Huey’s,
The one a block from work,
And I stared at the food on my plate,
And I willed myself to remember how to eat.
I hear jazz music lofting through the Square,
And I wonder to myself if I might find you there,
Sitting amongst the people in love,
You the one who gave it up,
But I make myself pass by the open club doors.
My friends tell me to focus on myself,
But I am afraid I don’t know how,
Having spent so much time trying to convince you
To just let yourself be happy
That now I have forgotten myself.