But you don’t have an accent
I’m told repeatedly by urban
speech even in feeling or tone
sometimes too reflective of my
own sound that my origin simply
can’t be the south or upper
identity might question its ability
to situate itself north of my head
brimming with the congealed roux
of shame I should be showcasing
thickly from my tongue.
Do they mean how dare I shed
the dirt-laden dialect of my father
whose worn hands don’t hold
books but skin deer carcasses
hung from the swingset an acre
back from our home?
Or that it’s not enough to wear
inferiority as a cross beneath
my coat I must coat my words
with butter and bake ignorant
sentences voluminous as biscuits?
To them I sincerely apologize
with this poem in hopes it’s local-
ized enough for my speech
to be let alone but to myself
I allow the conflict of y’all
and fixing and supper to coat
my gums and bloom ulcers
within my mouth.
I take the time to swallow
my Southerness for the self
judgement of my stomach so to
you I can exude the smoothness
a digested history can belie.

Sarah Renee Beach received an MFA in Poetry from The New School where she was a reader for LIT. Follow her on twitter @sarahreneebeach.

Featured image via Pixabay.

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