Follow June

She towers over her family like a coal tipple.

Her bare feet bottoms black from the garden,

She’s just come off the hill pickin’ maters

Killed her a copperhead.

She’s been up since five since she was eight.

Rolling dough. Cleanin’ deer. Fetchin’ water.

I don’t reckon she’s ever worn no makeup.

Her hair drags the ground two feet behind her.

She piles it on her head like a big cow patty.

She emits wisdom like perfume she’s never worn.

You ain’t ever heard her mention Jesus.

She just lives with him.

Warshes her feet ‘fore she prays.

Gets down in the floor and turns plum around in the pew at church

Coverin’ her head. Blackin’ out her eyes until she sees no light. God says go in a closet.

She does, crying out for her family in a language you ain’t never heard.

And probably won’t ever speak – cause it’s a narrow road she’s walkin’.


She walked the holler

Back and forth she prayed.

To bring her baby girl home.


Her baby girl still rides her dress tail at thirty-five.

One day she’ll find herself fixin’ breakshoes in the kitchen,

Looking up, wondering when she’ll hit that river.

Because God’s calling her to follow June.


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