my grandmother said you’ve got Cherokee
blood I was 10 born in Chicago raised
in New York and didn’t know southerners
say that to fashion themselves
inheritors to the land

white southerners that is true or false
my grandmother too who picked cotton
during the depression and lived
in a shack until my grandfather built
their one-room house which fell to the ground
last year uncared for way back in the country
where boars live now and wild muscadine
vines obscure the trail to the river
a cousin willed it to his daughter

she’ll retire there he said and doesn’t
much care what grandma knew she’s gone
he’ll be gone soon me too we can’t name
the Quapaw soul in that land smothered
by rotted wood brittle tar paper pieces
of fabric dusty flour sacks and the metal
pot grandma slid under the bed every night just in case

we are of her Lee and Grant
her parents’ names and
Stinnett her name by marriage
we are of her that history
weeping whose Cherokee
blood underwrites the
stories that disinherit the rest

Share this
Continue Reading
About the Author

Carra Leah Hood, Emerita of Writing and Associate Provost at Stockton University, writes in expository, academic, and creative genres.

Carra Leah Hood
Author Website
More Posts by this author…