I heard her grandmother’s low
growl from the other room; Baby, never
let a backwoods white boy from Indiana tell you
he loves you. She defended me
against the woman’s tongue, and all
I wanted was to walk downtown
with her, kiss the dark crease her neck makes.
Why wouldn’t she go with me? Because
it’s a trick and he can chop the Alabama pine
out your fence-straight spine, she rumbled
in her honey full house with
its six-string singing and wood smoke.
Poem in Apology
It might be as simple as this—
I am sorry. I put my hands on the cart
that day not knowing you would look
at me with those eyes and reprimand me
for hanging on as you pushed through K-Mart.
I didn’t listen until you grabbed me
by the arm. I didn’t hear your deep growl
until my ears were red with embarrassment—
22 and still being scolded. All I can say is
I am sorry, the lock on my tongue
finally picked—I didn’t understand my hurt
half as good then, but I know I caused it
with my open mouth and empty ears.
Taylor Rickett received his MFA in poetry from Drew University and has placed work with Boxcar Poetry Review, Cleaver Magazine, Naugatuck River Review, and Xanadu Poetry Review. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he spends time fishing, teaching, and writing.