Beneath the Bayou, Risen from Red Dirt

Beneath the Bayou, Risen from Red Dirt – Hanna Harris


birthed roots first, the ozark woman is a transient thing.

pulled from patches by her hair, grown in groups,

camouflaged vapid, these women with moons for wombs gather

to cast out sullen fists, black-eyed & bawling,

bathe in the wasted wrath, to conjure, create


my mouth a dustbowl, powder & starvation wedged

between my toes, those of us who survived did so

by sheer stubbornness, built cast iron spines, fed

our children our own bodies if we had to,

shaved off thick skin & gave & gave & gave


a bayou bred woman wastes no warmth,

opens every passage in her home, invites,

cradles, prays for, wants better, laughs loud

& long like spring rain. she makes home

in every fold of the neighborhood, chases

her husband down the street with a shotgun,

don’t take shit from anyone, every baby is her baby


teeth bared & hellfire chests, not hate: anger,

it’s what happens when fear is a place called home,

every conversation harsh & still like a cabin in the woods,

sulfur & sudafed, basement explosions, meth pipe caught

in my lawnmower blades, the red dirt is just blood stained gravel


ozark women, harnessing cicada screams & rising

like a hot southern wind, fishing tenderness

from the hardest of places, building & dancing

& loving: not stupid, not surrendered, but surviving