Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative, poem,
spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.
Tonight’s poem is from Sarah Cooper
“It is so hard when someone sees something you do not want them to see.” –Mora,
She labors acres: butterbeans, watermelon, potatoes,
corn, tomatoes, cucumber, okra, peaches,
blueberries, zucchini, squash, apples, muscadines, pumpkin, turnips, radishes, wax beans, collards, kale and cabbage.
She has harvested, preserved, and canned
for eighty-eight years (fifty-five on this land.)
Today my grandmother sits on a taupe sofa, near a woman
who pats her knee, smiles before her punch lines.
They chuckle over a morning spent trout fishing
lines spooled over the Chattooga River, packs of crackers
misplaced in currents, river rocks still in their pockets.
I want to know if they kiss. Do they grasp hands, wedding bands
years removed, fingers curled
like fern tendrils, just brushed. Do they cry:
their husbands, decades gone? Is that why
they cling together? How do they hold each other
when the labor is over, when lines have been reeled?
I want to know they are becoming. Is this a queerness
I have always been? I want her there: fold my hand
in her lap, eyes forward, fingertips caressing my knuckles.
Sarah Cooper is a native of South Carolina. She earned her MA from Purdue University and MFA from Converse College where she was mentored by Denise Duhamel. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Sun Star Review, Sling Magazine and Cahaba Literary Review. Currently she teaches at Clemson University, lives with an orange cat and writes poems on front porches.