Alone on the street, as Vicksburg fell, the lady stood, her white arms cold, smelling of gunmetal and spoiled cotton pods. A door
slammed, its screen dissolved and inside her, flies licked horses, goats cleared beds while hogs cuddled
in the parlor wedding cove. Tell how she survived, now on the tour, barefoot and entered, pink in her windows
hanging like twice chewed bubble gum, her girls hired and smiling at the door. Open the ivory windows,
let her dead widows crawl out. Call pilgrims into peacock halls and show the inside crust of a propped up heart. Inside,
for five bucks an hour, see it— her slop jars dipped in cologne, nine-foot doors still holding their mahogany burl while
all Africa is pressed into the fireplace, handprints and chains baked into bricks.
R. Dwaine Rieves is a public health physician in Washington, DC. His poetry has appeared in Timber Creek Review, Baltimore Review, Potomac Review, and Parnassus.