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Pink Chenille

She of Ecclesiastes & cream-colored envelope,

the mother mails

to summer cousin—

cash, food stamps, regards:

Dear Shirley,

Your bosom is

a great big city, pink chenille

for other folks’ children. Six weeks of pillowed

nights to dream of freeways, malts & shortstop,

my son jumped off the sighing Greyhound belching Sunkist,

Patrina & Pea-Eye, his new bus-seat friends—

belief & noise stuck to his chest, yelling he’d thumbed

way back to basement-paneled Sixteenth Street Baptist:

Cynthia, Carol & Carole & Addie Mae—back to 15 September 1963

Child, came home chirping Five Points South,

UAB, Thirteenth Avenue North, Dynamite Hill,

Legion Field & Dr. A.G. Gaston:

Part of all you earn is yours to keep.

The truth is red:

Next to them that’s got shall get, I twitch.

You wear raven silk taut at the nape of the neck.

In wards of Pac-Man, Adidas, & Atari,

you ushered in this rattle of awe—

glorious Black Fever!



from Sweetgum & LightningFind more by Rodney Terich Leonard at the library

Copyright © 2021 Rodney Terich Leonard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Poems Rodney Terich Leonard

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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