In da first place—
I come from baghetti & banounce
baze & baff whutta
from chullen, pitiation & clare fo god
from coosa county yall, dem & nem
dem mine—aint—big mama nem
from stankin & breff, lil bit mo
from saushit, winnies, avoid da popo
from deddy, aynee, dat dare & frune
who got da body—what time da frune iah?
from valemtines, feets, taters & okree
from coveralls & my stomach toe up
from yonda, good moanya, spensis things
from draws & how come ms roof so observative?
from sastificate, soditty, reefah & daplooma
from skrange, prestripshun, skrawberry bloomahs
from done fell out at da hosspill
better gwone now & eat dem grits
from dis here my house
git yo fangah outta my face
from got my check they cut me real bad
from foaf Sunday meetin
from “preciation outta be give when da church is full”
RODNEY TERICH LEONARD is the author of Sweetgum & Lightning (Four Way Books, 2021). His poems have been published in BOMB, Four Way Review, the Cortland Review, What Rough Beast, and other journals. He holds an M F A in poetry from Columbia University. A native of Alabama, Rodney currently lives in New York City.