from "The Kudzu Chronicles" - Beth Ann Fennelly

from "The Kudzu Chronicles" - Beth Ann Fennelly


When I die here,
for I sense this, I'll die in Mississippi,
state with the sing-songiest name
I remember, at five, learning to spell --
when I die here,
my singular stone will stand alone

among the Falkners and the Faulkners
the Isoms and the Nielsens, those headstones
which fin down hills like schools of fish.
I'll be a letter of a foreign font,
what the typesetter used to call a bastard.

And even when my husband and daughter 
are dragged down beside me,
their shared name
won't seem to claim my own,
not to any horseman passing by.

Listen, kin and stranger,
when I go to the field and lie down,
let my stone be a native stone.
Let the deer come at dusk 
from the woods behind the church

and let them nibble acorns off my grave.
Then let the kudzu blanket me,
for I always loved the heat,
and let its hands rub out my name
for I always loved affection.

"The Kudzu Chronicles" by Beth Ann Fennelly originally appeared in Unmentionables (2008), her third book of poetry. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi. 

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