Southern Roots

by Rhonda Johnson-Saunders

Artwork, “Eyes Wide Open” by Susan Peters


At the old man’s shanty, where glue binds bits of wood,
tiny model boats bond over beer and chowder.
I swim in questions. Fears are leaves plucked from branches. Caught in the fabled south, he shares an old fish tale.

Tiny model boats bond over beer and chowder, familiar tastes on my tongue. I choke on the bones caught in the fabled south. He shares an old fish tale spun deep in Florida’s swamp, where steam rises thick.

Familiar tastes on my tongue, I choke on the bones
spit out in faith. My kinfolk’s secrets splash under the surface, spun deep in Florida’s swamp. Where steam rises thick
with bugs, crawling on legs like tree trunks, he cut me loose.

Spit out in faith, my kinfolk’s secrets splash under the surface. I swim in questions – fears are leaves plucked from branches, with bugs crawling on legs like tree trunks. He cut me loose
at the old man’s shanty, where glue binds bits of wood.


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