as a child born to the low country
of South Carolina,it was a well known fact
that the swelter of summer
caused women to glow,
men to sweat,
and a scant few
we’re said to shine
efforts to ward off
glowing, sweating, or
shining we’re met in earnest seasoning was discouraged
retreat into the cold
was remedy enoughthe cure conjured
~ brain freeze
now, as an elder of the
in the dry heat of late summer,
i prefer to season
and conjure up
In 1950, Chaney arrived at the
grand-old house on Hampton Street,
deep in the low-country of South Carolina,
to work for my great-grandmother.
In 1960, when my twin sister and I arrived,
our great-grandmother sent Chaney
next door to our grandparent's
home to care for us.
And there Chaney remained,
year after year. She cooked
and cleaned and fussed over us as
if we were her own.
She was family and we loved her.
Chaney hummed when she ironed
and starched the sheets.
She made a savory macaroni pie
and perfectly sweet iced tea.
She called me "Miss Suzy."
I simply knew her as "Chaney."
I never knew her last name.
No one did.
Mama said, "No one thought to ask."
And therein lies the pickle of my Southern roots.