The Dish with Watermelon Rind
was dotted with black ants-
some plump as blackberries,
some thin as thread. They must
have a sixth sense to have known
it was there so quickly by the
kitchen sink; I hear they use
scouts like Lewis and Clark.
For 110 million years they've
worked together without one of
their 20,000 species waving
flags to kill. I put them all
outside where they scattered
like question marks.
(First appeared in The Latham Letter, Fall 2007)
My grandmother pinned hairpin lace bibs
on grandfather's bathing beauty calendars,
crocheted jelly glass holders for Queen Anne's Lace.
Her flour sack scarves- hemmed to look like they
had no hems, have hourglass patterns echoing her
figure unfamiliar with backs of chairs.
As the neighborhood midwife she whispered:
"garcon" for a boy, "jeune fille" if a
girl to keep such delicate things from children.
Aunt Lily said with uplifted chin, "I
never saw her apron dirty or saw her cry;"
my mother with shaking head,
"She looks at the hats in church."
She died from complications of tight corsets,
combs holding her Gibson Girl hair
and handkerchiefs folded in fans.
(First appeared in Free Verse 2007 Issue #90)
Carol Smallwood co-edited Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising,
Publishing and Teaching (McFarland, 2012) on the list of "Best
Books for Writers" by Poets & Writers Magazine; Women Writing on
Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing (Key Publishing
House, 2012); Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity, and
Other Realms (Anaphora Literary Press, 2011) received a Pushcart
nomination. Carol has founded, supports humane societies.