Son, I was tryin’ t’follow da rules.
Was tryin’ t’stay outta y’all’s business.
Give y’all time ‘n space to work things out
on your own.
But I neva ‘spected her t’put her foot
in a mess a green tomatoes
she growed herself.
Not the way her city self been burnin’ up bread
in dat fancy oven y’all put in dat pretty lil’ house.
And by the way, when she stroll outta here
befo’ first light
wrapped in mo’ layers than I ever owned
I’m walkin’ beside her, lookin’ ova her shoulders,
being da hedge of protection she deserve.
Not jus’ ‘cause she yours,
but ‘cause soon as her womb said yes
to Baby Boy, they both become mine too.
Anyways, I want you to eat one mo’ slice real slow,
jus’ fo’ me. Don’t worry none ‘bout yo belly
‘cause ev’ry swallow is already blessed, twice over.
I wanna taste the dirt ‘n sunshine y’all planted dem in.
I wanna taste ev’ry drop a buttamilk.
I wanna taste her mama’s fingas on ev’ry single crumb.
Listen close son. Take little bites. Chew real slow.
Don’t wolf it down like it’s yourn. Savor it for me.
Frank X Walker was born in Danville, Kentucky in 1960, and graduated from the University of Kentucky, where he now teaches as an associate professor of English. He is the author and editor of eleven books of poetry and is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets. He is the recipient of the 2006 Thomas D. Clark Literary Award and a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship in Poetry.