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My South

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My South is an old tree in the cornfield, getting lost between the ears,
My South is bumblebees and those gnarled willows that overlook the creek,
it’s butterscotch pie and s’mores on the back patio,
the cool lake water, the broken bridge pylons.
My South is a crackling fire on rainy days and cold peach iced tea,
the crumbling barns, the cows and dusty hay bales in far green fields. 

My South is not your South, red confederate flags raised high,
My South is not shotguns over the door and angry, bitter words,
it’s not barbed wire fences and blatant mistrust.
No, my South is confused. My South has been hurting for a hundred fifty years
and every day it fears that it will be forgotten. I watch my town die;
I watch stores go empty, hospitals close, churches fade away. 

I used to hate my South. I was afraid of it’s ancient, stormy thoughts. 
I forgot that I belonged in the hills as much as everyone else here.
(Or maybe I just never believed that this place could love me.)
My South is broken, and instead of trying to fix it, I’ll be leaving it behind. 
Sometimes I think about coming back, but I know I never will. 
I wish I could stay, keep My South the way it is now: old and lost and home, 
before it’s gone forever. 

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constantly confused

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