Untitled: photo by Vanessa Winship, from She dances on Jackson (2011-2012), Mack Books, 2013
The day I came home with a busted lip and two black eyes,
my mother said the problem with me
was my southern accent. Get rid of that extra y
in Dayaddy, and you’re talking about your father,
not some deity.
I tried to tell her it began with a dayare,
but my mother said it was dare, not dayare,
and besides that, she didn’t want to hear one thing about it.
A girl is supposed to act nice.
And speak like a lady.
If you’re going to fight like a boy,
you can cut your hair like one, too.
What’s more, that stuff growing on top of your head
is not hay as in hayer, it’s hair.
Driving to Watson’s Beauty Salon downtown
on Jefferson Park Avenue, she instructed me
to open my mouth nice and wide, say ahhh, not ayyy.
I didn’t mean to, I tried to explain.
It was just an accident.
Not everything rhymes with Bayer, my mother commented.
She was from New England. She wasn’t like me.
But I never could get it right. No matter how hard I tried,
I’d hear my father’s voice,
his Memphis drawl in the back of my head:
You being about as helpful as a crawdayaddy under a rock?
When was the last time you peeled your mama spuds
or washed your hayands and said something sweet
with a smile on those rosebud liyips?
I knew how to answer him, keep my eyes cast down,
my voice a wisp: No, Sir. Yes, Sir. Or, if I dared:
Can I please be excused?
No Ma’am, he’d answer just as quick as a blink.
You can. But you may not.
Not as long as you don’t know
which word is proper,
and what kind of excuse you might be.
Nin Andrews: Southern Accent, from Southern Comfort (CavanKerry), 2009
[Untitled: photo by Vanessa Winship, from She dances on Jackson, c Vanessa Winship 2013]: image via Caroline T @martine_hi, 12 May 2013
Sometimes in the middle of the day, Jimmy and I’d rest on the upside-down feed buckets beside the sugar maples, sip Cokes and talk about our dreams, maybe watch the horses slurp water and swish off gadflies. Jimmy talked about Sarah Lee, his girl (he liked to say so long after she wasn’t). Then he would lie back with his ball cap over his face while I fished dead frogs out of the trough. I’d think about what it’s like to be the girl every boy talks to about the girl he likes. Sometimes I watched him sleep until the lizards ran out to wait by the water for insects to light. If I wanted to, I’d pick off their tails and show them to Jimmy when he woke.
Nin Andrews: Summer, from Southern Comfort (CavanKerry), 2009
[Untitled: photo by Vanessa Winship, from She dances on Jackson, c Vanessa Winship 2013]: image via Lydia @LydiaEvansPhoto, 10 August 2013 Westminster, London
[Untitled: photo by Vanessa Winship, from She dances on Jackson, c Vanessa Winship 2013]: image via Art Limited @arlimitednet, 15 June 2013