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  • Deborah Kay Kelly

Wundor Editions: Mississippi/Minnesota



The poem Mississippi/Minnesota won 2nd Prize in Wundor's contest in Innovative Poetry.



Mississippi/Minnesota

We're hanging nooses to remind people that times haven't changed. —State Capitol grounds in Jackson, Mississippi, Nov. 26, 2018.



Our toes, little larvae in river mud,

a river bull-nosed as catfish,

dull as its carp,

thick in its spasms.


On its over-hung shore,

heat gelled on our child-skin,

onto neck, into sacrum,

our pallor of paraffin.


We played that heat

was weightless,

beside-the-point

as gnats up our noses,

and imagined Deep South

at the other end, the Gulf

and its bayous,

hypoxic and loaded.


River. Snake that bucks

between teeth of a hound,

I fear you.


Somewhere, a branch and a rope,

a swing and a noose.

Mississippi, goddam,

sometimes I loathe you.

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