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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kay Kelly

Wundor Editions: Mississippi/Minnesota

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

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


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,


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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