poetry in her walk

she has poetry in her walk
not of bright stars
nor of translucent dawn
but of deep earth
from which all things grow
and to which all things go
when they cease to be
this brown-hipped mother
not bowed by man,
not bowed by change
knows when to bend
all the same
carries her inherited wisdom
as her great-greats carried
their songs through
fields afire with the sounds
of cicadas in summer
and bullfrogs in spring
carries it upon broad
momma-can-I-lay-my-head shoulders
with pride in the midst of
other men’s shame
she sways with the words
of the long-remembered hymns
that carried them home
walks with the richness
of ramshackle rhythms
from ramshackle huts
the frayed burlap of lullabies
her momma’s momma’s momma’s
dust-coated throat crooned
at the end of the day
she is not fine
in the way of china
but in the way the scent
of the magnolia rises
and hangs in the garden at dusk
there is poetry in her walk
and in her gait the echoes
of deep continuous earth

© Sarah Whiteley