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  • Writer's pictureZion Thomas-Ackee

The Hearth

The heat is a heavy and oppressive fellow.

Clotting and slow-moving, he's never one to rush himself out the door.

He'd be bright and early for breakfast and wouldn’t leave 'til supper.

Made himself right at home on the seat of your neck.

Planted himself at the high of your brow.

Now many things might've changed.

Like the dust settled home in El Paso.

Dirt tracks that wound and spun into nowhere.

The wide heroism of the flat land,

with a lone star there to keep you company.

Scorpions and stickers alike waitin' to strike.

Home tasted like sugar tortillas and the grit of isolation.

Similar to the shotgun house in Lawton,

The chamber was filled and always ready to blow. Here the grass rose long

and tall, brushing against knocked knees,

Hiding arrowheads and dried flowers from a time before.

Here the silence was cut

Bombs bursting overhead rattled our nerves.

There the heat was a mean bastard with nowhere to take his anger out.

Left us dry and dark - laid out in thin strips for chewin'

Lawton tasted like the savory meat off the buffalo and buried grief.

Not that much different from the crisp of Goldsboro —

The worm inside the Apple.

Perfumed magnolias and sweetened watermelon fields

Looked like Eden to the red dust of before.

Black blood split still keeping the old world rich.

Under long summer nights that mean ole bastard must've grown lazy here,

Stuck full of tobacco and town gossip to pass the time.

They said your mama was a witch,

And the green covered you like a blanket.

Left you feelin' warm and drowsy in its evening gown.

Left you feelin' complacent

Left you feelin' stuck.

Tasted like country ham and the feeling that

there was something you were supposed to do.

But nothing compared to Little Rock,

The only home that stayed put.

Little Rock was playin' in the front lawn and never any further.

It was round cheeks, games with cousins, and sleepin' in church

It was the sound of KATV news, kept low from curious ears.

Condolences passed from one pair of hands to another.

It was being a living memory for people you did not know.

Meeting a friend from way back then.

Pictures and pictures and pictures and more pictures

where family Pride and family Shame reside together.

And the heat kept himself busy here, finding some poor soul

and some bad temper to rile.

I know that home tasted like fish fried and the mint of Granny's gum.

But just like always,

And just like before

it was always so damn hot.

Edited by: Ava Emilione

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4 comentários

18 de jan. de 2023

so powerful!!!


15 de jan. de 2023

the part about little rock really got me


13 de jan. de 2023

love this!!


11 de jan. de 2023

a heartfelt and detailed homage to home and upbringing. the powerful imagery really captures the beauty of Little Rock. you can feel the artist's love and reminiscence.

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