Sweet Summer Tea

This sun … like an oven

A blast furnace of heat

And wind … There is no rest

Nothing summer about this weather

Nothing slow or easy

It’s fierce summer sweat

Dried from the wind

Lips chapped like dust

I long for that easy summertime

Restful hot and still

Where a box fan whirs

And whispers to me

My feet off the ground

Sitting on a porch swing

With a tall glass

Of honey sweet tee

And cut off jeans

Me in my chucks

You in flip flops

Fried chicken cooking on the stove

And grits with ham hock gravy

Soupy ham juice

That’s not gravy at all

But fat drippings

Cooled and then gleaned

To leave a clear salty

Gelatin of Deep South

Culture where yes ma’am and yes sir

Roll off my tongue as easy as

Y’all

And every sentence ends in a question mark inflection?

And peach pie and sweet potato pie and pee can pie

Cool on linoleum countertop

And whipped cream

Sits in a bowl

Second shelf

Next to watermelon

And boiled peanuts

Salted … Edamame, southern style

My aunt Lalame talking slow

Of that time when the neighbor dog

Got into the chicken house

And met the rooster who kept

A chunk of his ear on his spur

And that sweet girl in church

With a voice like no one even knows

Making half the congregation cry

With her Sunday morning song

Praising Jesus for this day

And the next

When she’ll get new shoes for the first day of school

And wear her older sister’s dress

And eat a piece of fried chicken for lunch

With watermelon

Pie in an imperial margarine tub

And a little sweet summer tea

to wash it all down

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