We still look for you
in that sepia photo we suspect
of hiding in a book.
Daddy, if we didn’t know you,
that picture would convince us
you were born in the antebellum
South. You a barefoot two-year-old
in a gunny sack dress, held in the ample
arms of Mammy. She in the standard
head rag, long, full skirt and apron.
Likely the only hugging you got.
Mama dead. Stepmother throwing
you away. Aunt not wanting you.
You must have felt
you had personally lost the war.
Alarie Tennille graduated in the first coed class at the University of Virginia. She serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place in Kansas City, Missouri. Author of Running Counterclockwise and Spiraling into Control, Alarie’s poems have appeared in numerous journals including Margie, Poetry East, Coal City Review, Southern Women’s Review and The Midwest Quarterly. Her website: http://alariepoet.com.