Philly in the Light for Hayes
Cave Canem: A Special Section
Y’all carry guns up herein the grocery stores? I ask the security guard at the corner Superfresh. He’s bagging fruit for me, and there’s a gun on his hip. If I weren’t such a Southern Belle, I’d say right to his face, That’s a mightybig piece you’re wearing. I’d make my voice deliberately corn pone and molasses and he’d laugh, charmed by my ignorance of the Great Migration pace.
I am an Eve in this Northern garden where trash planted one night sprouts ghettos the next morning. Where they dropped fire on a whole city block, watched the chickens, goats, people burn all day long on television. Where they smelled cooking flesh in the air and called it barbecue. I shake my head at these city dwellers who don’t know that killing should be done in private, never for open eyes, never in the light. This is a lesson that even the children of the South have learned.
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, a Poetry Scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, graduated of Talladega College and received the MFA degree in creative writing from the University of Alabama. She has received awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation for Women Writers and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women. Her poems have appeared in Identity Lessons, Poet Lore, and Brilliant Corners. Her book The Gospel of Barbecue won the 1999 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and is forthcoming (Fall 2000) from Kent State University Press.