Sunday, July 17, 2011

Me in Black and White

I just returned from a poetry "camp" at Wofford College where I wrote a poem about a photograph we were given of a girl on a bicycle. The photo was probably 70 years old and taken in the Henry River Mill Village of North Carolina. When I first saw the photo, my reaction was "It's me!" I have a picture very much like it in my archives, only taken in Upstate New York.

It's me
It's me on a bike

I recognize the hair
hours spent
ammonia scented
tiny pink and blue rollers
tight against my scalp
shaping curls
cast askew by life and wind

I recognize the sweater
store bought
Momma didn't knit
pale yellow with plastic pearl buttons
freshly scented
cakes of lavender dissuading
moths and other creeping things

I recognize the dress
Momma sewed
full skirted - pleasantly plaid
with pockets for important stuff
like tissues and hoppy toads
scented with Fels-Naptha
the dress, that is

I recognize the bike
it is fast
it is freedom
it is adventure and journey on wheels
it smells of red dirt
and green grass
and the fluffy yellow tops
of blooming dandelions


I'm a goin'
and I'm a goin' fast
I may not come back
I probably will

I hear there's
chicken and biscuits for supper
dare I say
peach cobbler for dessert

postscript: My husband just saw the photo and had the same reaction - he thought it was me.