Born in a playground of sour cherry and bramble, thumb the rusted neck of a bicycle. Sweat on upper lips, fingers pluck one leaf just to taste the green because the honeysuckle bush is Mississippi wilted, like poke sallet—boiled, salted long beyond death.
It’s just a weed. Dandelion seeds swing through a nuisance of humidity and wasp breath. Cornbread darkens in the cast iron inside.
Yellow flowers sweat into ice water on the kitchen table, torn stems like splinters from the barn wood. Horseflies for the horses, saltlick for the horses. No milk cows, but
carpenter bees. No characters, just weeds and archetypes named grandmother, who say the bees don’t sting in July. Every stock child believes. Like a hymn. Like the hymnal, soured pages from a decade of cloudless summer. Sweet gum, bare foot, a pulse quickens and a heel opens to the dirt. Blood runs
like oil, reddens and stales. Bread with no butter but buttermilk. Yellow flowers called weeds. O, sparrow grass.
O, buttercup or daffodil or paperwhite? Please fill some color into Sunday dinner, when the oven, unwanted sun, radiates filled bellies onto the porch. Tin roof divides noon-light into a million glints in the eye of every
horse chewing on a clutch of buttercups. The pattern ends: you collect the eggs, you slice heat straight through a chicken neck. How funny that it runs around, almost alive, begging to be broken and fried.
Heath Joseph Wooten is a 2020 Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets fellow, and he holds a BA in English from the University of Mississippi. This fall, he will begin his MFA at Northern Michigan University. His poetry has previously appeared in Adroit and is forthcoming in Dishsoap Quarterly. Instagram: @fake2003blond; Twitter: @edgy2003blond.