A handful of summers ago

when the drowsy sun peeled off my shadow between

the front porch and Ummi sat in her white wicker chair,

swatting mosquitos and sipping sweet tea from a reused

French dressing jar, the ice clinking its soliloquy near wind chimes

before she passed the jar over to me. That summer I would learn how

to make the pie Ummi’s mother taught her how to make without a recipe that wasn’t also etched

between breast bone and ruh.



Ummi had crystal drinking glasses with intricate webs of notched-in lace.

Still like dew, after rain she preferred to pause dusk and drink sweet tea from jars


and how lovely, these quiet migrations of the South that showed up in her reflexes.

In some ways, she had always been Mississippian, her hot water cornbread

grinning back at us three hours into family cook-outs, her cast iron skillet

basking in some gravy she summoned without measurements or occasion

the memory of which, even before they could emerge with their splintering tongues,

greased the tips of our fingers, their hunger-less sheen

almost birthing


the bloom of our lips.