“First Meeting” and “The Proposal”

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“First Meeting” and “The Proposal”

by Délana R. A. Dameron
Southern Cultures, Vol. 24, No. 4: Winter 2018

“A hand-cupped ear, he is looking to tune her voice to the right frequency.”

first meeting

Some women suffer themselves fools
trying to hold a man

who floats between them like driftwood;
whose happy tongue slicks

his catfish back; who constricts
his lover’s bones

as if a black rat snake
while holding out magnolia

blossom & eucalyptus branch offerings—except

for Annie who is strong as a water oak;
evergreen as pine.

 

the proposal

The woman stands on the everlasting pier
with her back to him. When he walks

towards the edge, water laps
his combat boots up to the twice-tied

laces at his ankles. A hand-cupped ear,
he is looking to tune her voice

to the right frequency. Hinged by her feet
on the clapboard planks, she is

flexed for flight. In basic training,
this is how Thomas learned to lean out of the belly

of a plane: heart first, as if looking
for a reflection in water. He stands close

enough to grab her shoulder & twists
the woman ’round in a great pirouette.

To finally see her face. When she turns,
it is Annie & her words pierce him clear as fire

Seems like I been waiting
for you all this time. I been waiting

for you to come for me. When he sees
Annie again, he’ll seek her hand.

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