Friday, September 28, 2007


Martha White

The first time you saw me
without my dungarees
was down by the creek.
You were wildcrafting
and I was skinny-dipping,
washing bales of hay dust
from behind my ears.
In your arms you held
a basket of Yellowroot,
which you dropped
in teary-eyed laughter
at the sight of my backside.
When you told me I was
as white as two buttermilk biscuits,
I drew close my arms,
bronzed from the elbow down,
concealing what pale skin I could
that almost glowed in the clear water.

I couldn't count the times when
my grandmother said the same thing
during childhood baths.
I sat in the wash tub, embarrassed,
with a sponge and a bar of lye soap,
watching the water turn cloudy
while she always made sure
I cleaned behind my ears,
standing above me in her gingham dress.

But you hung yours
on a rhododendron limb
along with your bloomers
and, with a cannonball splash,
jumped into the swimming hole beside me,
making sure to soak my clothes
on the opposite bank.
I smiled astonishingly,
what rock
you had been sunning yourself on
for your back to be so tan,
so unbroken by modesty,
and remembered how Grandma
never cared much
for buttermilk biscuits.


Granny Sue said...

Oh man! This is so great. I love the images--I can see the people, the swimming hole, even your granny's gingham dress.

Mike said...

Good write here, beau. Vivid imagry. Btw, did you ever get those biscuits browned? lol

Kentucky Dreamer said...

I really enjoyed this, I agree, very vivid imagery. I hadn't thought before about pale skin glowing under water, but you described it so perfectly. I really enjoyed this.